Pushing Science Along with High-Throughput Antibody Production

Barney Beal, Former Content Director

September 4, 2019

When the world’s scientists, researchers and academic institutions need quality antibodies for their research and diagnostic applications, they know exactly who to call. Since 2002, Aviva Systems Biology(opens in new tab) has been providing its customers with an extensive collection of quality antibodies in the areas of transcription, epigenetics and cell signaling.

“Because we create more breadth in terms of what we offer the market, we find ourselves as the Amazon for the antibody world,” said Joseph Wong, Aviva’s Director of Operations. “If scientists don't know where to look for a specific antibody, they come to us.”

Antibodies are vital research tools. For example, a researcher that’s focused on a specific disease biomarker will use Aviva’s product to detect whether that disease is (or isn’t) present in a certain sample and may then publish that information in a scientific journal.

With a home base in San Diego, a manufacturing site in China and three subsidiaries, the 100-employee company distributes its products to customers around the globe.

“Our antibody collection includes unique antibody content to many targets that are not commercially available elsewhere,” Wong said.

Operating in a market that’s consolidated down to just 20-30 larger players over the last few years, Aviva’s fulfillment rates, turnaround times and airfreight rates have become true competitive advantages. At the same time, its customers need more information about which antibodies do or don’t work in specific applications; troubleshooting help; and other forms of support.

To fulfill these needs, Aviva expanded the internal testing of its products, produced more product variations and leaned on analytics to determine the market viability of its products. When it acquired GenWay Biotech in 2017, Aviva knew that it would have to replace its existing financial and inventory system (QuickBooks and Fishbowl) with a full ERP system that could support its multiple subsidiaries.

QuickBooks couldn’t support the more than 650,000 unique units that the company catalogues in the U.S. alone. Obtaining sales information across all its products and subsidiaries meant opening multiple instances of QuickBooks and exporting the necessary information to yet another program.

“We were cobbling all of that together to get a global view of multiple subsidiaries,” Wong said.

Aviva evaluated SAGE 100 and SAP before selecting NetSuite for its scalability, support for multiple subsidiaries and cloud-based architecture. The company was able to implement NetSuite in less than 100 days.

NetSuite’s ability to allow users to log into and use the system to retrieve real-time data from anywhere was a key factor as well. Aviva combined multiple financial and inventory systems onto a single platform and can now focus on what it does best: developing antibodies that are used to find cancer cures, prevent apoptosis and conduct stem cell research.

“Having everything in a single ERP, where I can firewall, cross-transfer and do inter-company transfers has been a real bonus,” said Wong, who is responsible for Aviva’s IT infrastructure, facility maintenance and general day-to-day operations.

Aviva is now using the demand planning module to review the thousands of SKUs that are ordered within any given month to figure out which of them are increasing in volume, which need to be restocked more frequently and which are in highest or lowest demand.

The company is also expanding its customized product line. Through its acquisition of GenWay Biotech, Aviva aligned itself with a contract research organization (CRO) that customers turn to for customized antibodies or proteins.

“In the past, we essentially had a set production line for making thousands of different products,” says Wong. “We're pivoting to having a subset of our company that focuses on making one antibody or protein for a specific customer. That’s what we’re expanding out into now.”

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.