Equaly is a Belgian biotechnology startup working to harness the innate immune system against immunological disorders. By specifically modulating the innate immune system, without the risk of off-target effects, Equaly aims to pioneer novel, cost-effective therapeutic approaches to cure immunological diseases instead of simply alleviating their symptoms.
We interviewed Equaly Head Scientist Dr. Chunyan Gu-Trantien, and Lab Technician Lucie Kappler, who were responsible for choosing Labguru and implementing it in Equaly’s R&D lab.
Chunyan: Equaly was founded to develop new therapeutic methods that harness Natural Killer T cells (NKT cells) to regulate immunological conditions such as autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer. We focus on innate immunity; normally it’s considered non-antigen-specific, but we’ve discovered that NKT cells mediate antigen-specific immune regulation! Equaly’s name reflects our commitment to equality - our goal is to develop treatments that are accessible to everyone. Biologicals and vaccines created with our novel platform require reduced preclinical testing due to absence of polymorphism, which will make them much cheaper than existing therapies.
Lucie: I did most of the research to find a good ELN and I recommended two or three different laboratory management systems to my team. We talked to representatives from each one and then did a trial with Labguru and one other system to see how we could implement our work in each system. We chose Labguru because we wanted to have a system that would allow us to manage our daily activities, including conducting experiments, tracking inventory, and equipment management. Labguru enables us to do all of this in one place, enhancing coordination.
Chunyan: Labguru provides all the options we need. It’s very flexible, which is great for small companies. And it offers attractive prices for small companies.
Lucie: Labguru’s storage features have transformed our sample management. We store a lot of samples in freezers, and having the precise location of every sample recorded in Labguru is very useful. It’s easy to try different things in Labguru, so we’re always looking for new organizational ideas. I also use the inventory tool, which is extremely useful and intuitive, every day to keep up with orders.
Chunyan: Labguru increases traceability because it saves previous versions of our experiments. And unlike other systems I’ve used, Labguru allows us to upload different file formats and then edit the files contemporaneously as the progress of our experiments, which is incredibly important because it enables us to record everything in real-time.
Lucie: Thanks to Labguru, everything in our lab, from experiments to data, is much more organized. Finding information is easy - even if it’s from someone else’s experiments. We have many different types of experiments; in vivo, in vitro, big experiments, and small set-ups. Labguru is essential to organizing these experiments and recording crucial details about our research, such as the samples our team is freezing or thawing.
Chunyan: We’ve definitely become dependent on Labguru’s calendar! All our experiments are in the calendar, facilitating the creation of a holistic view of our research.
Lucie: Additionally, we use the calendar to manage equipment maintenance. Team members also use personal Labguru calendars to manage smaller tasks.
Lucie: We’re a new company of mostly young grads, so we had to set up a lab with very little experience. I think Labguru provided a great basis for setting up everything the right way.
Chunyan: Training new employees to use Labguru is also quite easy because the system is so intuitive.
Lucie: Yes, learning how things work in a lab used to be messy, but now it’s really simple and fast. New employees can be trained to use Labguru in a day, which means they start working independently faster.
Lucie: Labguru’s integration saves us a significant portion of our workday! Without it, our technicians would waste hours looking for information before each experiment. But with Labguru, our scientists can easily find out any detail about every experiment done whenever they analyze and reanalyze the data. Secondly, we’re a small team, and everyone’s schedule is available on Labguru to all other team members, which makes it much easier to communicate and collaborate - even remotely! Thanks to Labguru, we’re constantly discussing our research on mobile devices.