10 Top Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS Softwares) for Biobanking

Updated: January 28th, 2022

Biobanking LIMS Softwares
Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS Software)
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Biobanks are of growing importance to many organizations in biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and medical research due to the increased awareness of their power to answer pertinent research questions. The higher the quality of the biobank the more accurate or fine grained the studies based on them can be. This requires excellent management of a diverse array of samples such as blood, tissue, saliva, DNA, integration with electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR) and compliance with the relevant regulatory environment such as HTA, GCLP, MHRA, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and other similar requirements. Complete sample inventory in real time is essential including tracking aliquots, pooled samples and samples processed for experiments and subsequently stored. Other requirements often include logistics management and monitoring the cold chain. Large biobanks may also require cloud-based software solutions in order to accommodate the information storage requirements, especially those based at multiple sites.

Most modern laboratory information management systems (LIMS softwares) have features or add-ons to facilitate biobanking. Here we highlight a selection of the 10 top LIMS softwares for biobanking, listed in no particular order. Preference has been given to interoperable systems. Purchasers should make their own investigations and bear in mind that these picks are not recommendations.

1. Agilent SLIMS for Biobanks

SLIMS from Agilent Technologies integrates a LIMS, an Electronic Laboratory Notebook, and a Biobanking module. The main key features of SLIMS for Biobanking are:

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  • Quick and easy overview of sample entries, storage locations, sample status, sample workflow
  • Highly configurable sample annotation
  • Genetic sample relations with pedigree report
  • Data validation options
  • Full scale chain of custody
  • Searchable with customized exports, and reports
  • Possible to Integrate with freezer management systems, instruments, and hospital EMR systems
  • Highly adaptable environment, compatible with the cloud
  • Study design for multi-studies support
  • Workflow for step by step user guidance
  • Longitudinal study with different timepoints of collection

Pros: Agilent SLIMS for Biobanks can integrate with EMR/EHRs and is highly customizable. Again, this is very useful for large biorepositories and population health studies with complex requirements.

Cons: Smaller biobanks may want to consider more streamlined options.

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2. Di-LIMS

Di-LIMS by DiData is a fast and secure web-based LIMS solution that facilitates sample management from collection to shipment, set-up customizable workflows, and keeps track of your storage space. Features include:

  • Managing and tracking samples with easy-to-use interface
  • Customizable intuitive workflows
  • Optimize your time and storage space
  • Dedicated module for data validation, and data import and export
  • Protect your sensitive data with access rights
  • Connect all instruments in your lab to Di-LIMS
  • Fully compliant, get your laboratory ready for certification

Pros: One of the fastest LIMS, easy to use, highly customizable and flexible. Its features fit perfectly the need of biobanks and the pricing is attractive.

Cons: Big biobanks with a bunch of unique needs may not find some specific features to fit their needs.

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3. CloudLIMS

CloudLIMS is a secure, configurable, in the cloud Biobanking LIMS with zero upfront costs. As a biobank management software, it helps biobanks manage samples and metadata, locate stored samples, automate and streamline workflows, assure sample integrity, remove data silos, and follow guidelines and international standards such as ISO 20387:2018, EU GDPR, HIPAA, 21 CFR Part 11, and ISBER Best Practices. Key features of CloudLIMS are:

  • Manage complete sample life-cycle
  • Manage patient data and their consent
  • Track samples using barcodes and print labels
  • Locate stored samples
  • Assign role-based data access to biobank staff to safeguard Protected Health Information (PHI) of patients
  • Manage tests and test results
  • Integrate with third-party systems to facilitate interoperability
  • Manage packages and track shipments to clients and collaborators
  • Schedule instrument calibration and store maintenance data
  • Manage documents and track their revision history
  • Control access to confidential documents
  • Manage training and competency records of biobank staff
  • Manage laboratory inventory used in biobanking activities

Pros: CloudLIMS can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and enables biorepositories to quickly automate and scale up operations without the need to invest in IT infrastructure or personnel. CloudLIMS offers a whole range of complimentary services including automatic backups, legacy data migration, etc.

Cons: CloudLIMS is configurable to meet end-user requirements, it cannot be programmatically customized by the end-user.

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4. LabCollector

AgileBio’s LabCollector is an affordable LIMS solution which is designed in a modular way keeping in mind the biobanking necessity of every lab. LabCollector LIMS offers extensive configuration and a very simplified use. As an all-in-one lab management platform, it is possible to manage, organize sample storage or share daily scientific work in a secure environment. It integrates a complete LIMS along with add-ons like Workflow Manager, Electronic Lab Notebook, Lab Service Manager etc that complement the LIMS systema by enhancing its functionalities. It also utilizes powerful tools to set up an efficient Quality Management System (QMS) for Biobanking activities in a single database. This helps to meet the highest quality standards, required by scientists and accreditation bodies.

Features includes:

  • Data Traceability
    • Fast and accurate location of samples in the lab
    • Unique ID for each data entry (samples, reagents, equipment …)
    • Multiple barcode creation options
    • Check database entries and changes using a user activity audit log
    • Integration of sample results (assays, tests)
    • Follow up on various sample processes
  • Organization of Biobank activities
    • Creation of modules specific to data inventory
    • Configure the fields, search filters in modules
    • Mass import, update and export of data
    • Manage lab product orders and reagents lot receptions
    • Edit Biobank process workflows
    • API integration & remote access to public websites (e.g. an online catalog like
      NCBI, Pubmed)
  • Data Security
    • Access is limited to identified users (login and encrypted password)
    • Manage data access using user permission levels
    • User groups and record ownership provide additional security
    • A data versioning option is also available to track all changes in records.
    • Protection against data loss with records deletion locks
    • LabCollector SSO (LDAP-AD) improves security and identity protection for
      your valuable research data
    • SAML uses secure tokens which are digitally signed and encrypted messages
    • Data back-up to secure your important data

Pros: Easy to use LIMS with the possibility to configure modules in order to reflect the needs of the Biobank. LabCollector is light and easy to install on any server. You can connect to it anytime using your browser, anywhere and on any type of device. It offers an extensive configuration from the User Interface, a rich API and allows integrations with third party applications. LabCollector can be adapted to many different lab activities, industries including Biobanks.

Cons: Some aspects of LabCollector can be configured by the user according to his needs, but he cannot modify the program itself.

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5. Modul-Bio – MBioLIMS BioBanking®

A modular software solution specifically designed for biobanks, cohorts and biological resource centres to manage the entire lifecycle of samples and their data. Features include:

  • Traceability of biospecimens from reception to shipment
  • Process tracking: aliquoting, transformation, storage, analysis
  • Genealogy of samples
  • Modular software and customizable
  • Powerful search function, reporting and statistical tools.
  • Available for a single or multiple sites.
  • Follows best regulatory practice guidelines

Pros: A key advantage is the customisation that is possible through purchasing specific modules according to the needs of the biobank. It is interoperable and may be able to integrate with EMR/ EHR records. The eMBioBANK® module allows users to publish and share sample collections on the web in a fully regulatory compliant manner. This would be a great solution for hospitals to distribute their samples to researchers.

Cons: While a modular format offers great advantages for customisation, some biobanks may prefer to have a comprehensive software package with idle features that they may instantiate at a later date without the need to select modules.

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6. Matrix Gemini Biobank Manager by Autoscribe Informatics

Autoscribe’s Matrix Gemini Biobank Manager fully supports ISBER Best Practices for Biospecimen tracking and management. The standard workflow includes all that the typical biobank requires including accessioning of samples, storing and locating samples, recording the transfer of samples for external research, management of staff competency, recording calibration of laboratory equipment, and managing patient consent records, all with a complete audit trail to ensure a chain of custody and security.

In addition, Autoscribe’s Matrix software includes powerful graphical editing tools that allows every screen in the workflow to be modified to the exact needs of every biobank, making it the most flexible biobank software solution on the market. It is suitable for large and small biorepositories and can be adapted for any type of biobank. Features include:

  • Highly adaptable out-of-the-box biobank management solution
  • Default workflow is already ISBER best practices compliant
  • Every screen in the entire workflow can be adapted to the needs of every biobank
  • Graphical editor enables biobanks to modify screens themselves
  • Secure cloud or on-premise biobank software easily scales as user needs grow

Pros: The workflow uses icons that users find intuitive and easy to use. The out-of-the-box solution provides all typical functionality expected but may also be easily configured to suit any biobank, small or large. May be on-premise or cloud based with subscription or purchased licenses plus annual support.

Cons: A highly capable biobank software solution. Very small biobanks with limited requirements may not use all the capabilities in the solution, but these can easily be turned off.

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7. OpenSpecimen

An open source informatics platform for biobanking. This means the software is free and the source code is available for modification. The company charges for the installation and maintenance of the software. Features include:

  • User and role management
  • Reporting, specimen carts and dashboarding
  • inventory management
  • Custom forms and fields ​
  • Biospecimen collection ​
  • Multi-site longitudinal study ​
  • Disease based or left-over samples collections ​
  • Consent tracking ​
  • Configurable User Interface ​
  • Label generation and printing ​
  • Distributing specimens to researchers ​
  • Shipping specimens to offsite storage locations ​
  • Importing bulk data (CSV) ​
  • Audit ​
  • Security

Pros: A great solution for biobanks with a professional IT team that see an advantage to complete control over the biobanking software with an ability to modify it themselves. Many customers choose to have OpenSpecimen install, support and maintain the software for a charge.

Cons: Any software source code modification by the biobank staff will render the software unsupported.

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8. Biological Specimen Inventory (BSI) System

BSI is a powerful software system for biospecimen management that can be customized. BSI provides specimen, freezer, shipment, and workflow management in a validated secure software environment. Features include:

  • Acquisitions
  • Requisitions
  • Reporting
  • Data Entry
  • Locations
  • Collection Kits
  • Subjects
  • Consent
  • BSI Connect
  • BSI Hub

Pros: Straightforward system that allows one to manage a biorepository effectively. Possible to integrate with other systems via API (command line).

Cons: In the opinion of the author the system is geared towards tracking and distribution, rather than analysis. That said BSI is certainly extremely analytically capable as well.

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TDBioBank is dedicated to biobanking, and specimen management for organizations that track and add value to their stored biological specimens. TDBioBank can manage collections of tissue, blood products, DNA, RNA, cells, and others. Features include:

  • Biological specimen management
    • Consent management
    • Non-conformity management
    • Biological resource history (donor, collection, samples, aliquots, derivatives,)
    • Storage and request management
  • Traceability
  • Added value for specimen collections
    • Follow-up for sample requests
    • Production of customized or standard catalogs
    • Annotation of collections, with possible links to patient files (clinical, genetic, genealogical, morphological, and so on)
    • Family dimension: pedigree tree editor, family number
  • Interoperability
    • Interface with the Hospital Information System (HIS)
    • Interface with the Laboratory Information System (LIS)
    • Interface with temperature monitoring systems
    • Configurable, interoperable, and evolving solution
    • Data import tool
    • Requests, data exports, reports

Pros: Dedicated to biobanking, addressing the needs of single or multisite biobanks, through a web-based platform. Good interoperability, potentially with EHR/EMR.

Cons: TDBioBank is comprehensive of larger organisations, however smaller biobank operations may prefer an more streamlined option.

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10. BiobankPro by Azenta Life Sciences

BiobankPro is structured for specimen processing, integrated data, and reporting, with the flexibility of a LIMS. Features include:

  • Inventory storage and optimization
  • Customizable biobanking & research LIMS workflows
  • Specimen registration/ lineage
  • Collection kits
  • Specimen storage check in/out, aliquoting, derivatives, pooling, destruction
  • Specimen processing worksheets
  • Batch processing documentation
  • Built-in electronic laboratory notebook module
  • Chain of custody
  • Subject management
  • Patient consent management
  • Study management
  • Configurable alerts with e-mails
  • Client portal
  • Sample requests, specimen shipments
  • Testing & assay management
  • Instrument & reagent management
  • Charts & dashboards
  • Tabular report printing
  • Complex report designer
  • Advanced data mining, ad-hoc and canned queries
  • Comprehensive barcode label and RFID tag designer
  • Barcode label printing
  • RFID tracking compatible
  • Integration with external data sources
  • Process automation based on external data sources (CTMS, EMR, EDC)
  • Limfinity® brick compatibility
  • Audit trail
  • Role-based security
  • Regulatory compliance

Pros: A comprehensive dedicated biobank solution which will be ideal for those that want an out of the box solution with possible EMR/ EHR input.

Cons: Limited ability to customise the software itself by the end user.

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