Meet our partner: IDEXX Bioanalytics

Meet our partner: IDEXX Bioanalytics

Q&A with IDEXX BioAnalytics Account Manager

Lilia Kazemi-Egbunike

1. Tell me a bit about yourself? How did you end up working at IDEXX BioAnalytics?

I had always had an interest in animals and science and growing up I was very much set on becoming a vet and working in practice. However, during my studies at the Royal Veterinary College, I became more and more interested in the role that animals had to play as comparative models of disease and it was the research aspect that really caught my attention. After previous roles in epidemiology and toxicology, I found myself working in Sales at IDEXX by complete chance. I applied for a role online that seemed interesting, without really knowing too much about the laboratory animal industry. It was a great career move for me, as I very much enjoy my job and every day is different.


2. Please introduce IDEXX BioAnalytics?

IDEXX is the largest veterinary diagnostic company in the world, founded in 1983 with our headquarters located in Maine, USA. We have over 8,000 employees worldwide, offices in 18 countries as well as manufacturing and R&D facilities in the US & Europe. IDEXX BioAnalytics, the division dedicated to support the needs of research, was created in 2012.

The company mission is to “to be a great company that creates exceptional long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by enhancing the health and well-being of pets, people, and livestock.”


3. What services do you provide for the scientific research community?

IDEXX Bioanalytics provides comprehensive laboratory services for the R&D segment of the marketplace. Our global network of experts support research testing needs by providing fast, accurate and reliable results— along with expert consultation that is readily available for our customers. Our services include:

In each line of business, we consistently offer customised testing solutions, quality data, and global expertise in research testing services.


4. Having worked as a customer with IDEXX for over 10 years, I have been very impressed with your continuous drive to increase your screening portfolios. For example, the latest release of your mouse Cell Check 19 loci assay.  How do you as a company, monitor the market and determine where to focus your ideas on next?

Our growth is very much customer focussed. As an Account Manager, it is great to work for a company that not only takes customer feedback on board but acts on it! For example, after hearing from our customers, our IT team has been working hard over the past couple of years to improve our online submission platform, it has been completely updated and is now super user-friendly.

The new Cell Check  Mouse 19 was developed in response to the demand for advancement to our testing. In collaboration with NIST and 10 external labs, we validated additional Short Tandem Repeat (STR) markers for intraspecies authentication of mouse cell lines, now offering 10 new validated STR markers and the 9 markers currently used. This allows for the highest power of discrimination, with more published references for murine cell lines. The new assay will enable our customers to not only meet but exceed global standards.

I strongly believe that IDEXX has the strongest portfolio for biological material screening in the market. We are the only company that can test for a large profile of rodent pathogens, human pathogens, Mycoplasma and carry out cell line authorisation from just a single cryovial sample. Our goal is to continue to expand our offering in line with the needs of our customers.


5. IDEXX is based in several locations around the world, what activities occur where? For customers based on the wrong continent, how do you support them with accessing your services? 

Our European laboratory is based in Kornwestheim , Germany. They carry out our PCR and serology-based laboratory animal health monitoring, preclinical assays and our rodent pathogen detection by PCR, which is called IMPACT. Our US laboratory network consists of 3 labs in Colombia MO, North Grafton MA and West Sacramento CA. The US team takes care of aquatics screening, plus handling of any human derived material, such as the h-IMPACT screening for human pathogens in biological material. Our customers in Europe do not have to worry about shipping samples across the pond, as we have a partnership with DHL, offering a courier service to ship all samples to the lab in Germany. Once there, our team will take care of the paperwork for any samples that need to be passed to the US team and organise the shipment for the customer.


6. 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. What challenges has Covid-19 presented to IDEXX, your customers, and how have you responded?

The IDEXX BioAnalytics European laboratories have managed to maintain full service throughout the period of lockdown for all our customers. Not shaken by a global pandemic, we even managed a lab relocation from Ludwigsburg to our new state-of-the-art facility in Kornwestheim. Those of us who are not needed on site have been working from home, whilst our Operations teams were well equipped with all the PPE they needed and social distancing measures are in place at all sites. It has been an excellent team effort to provide these vital services that are needed to keep research facilities going. We will continue to support our IBA customers, albeit virtually for the most part, to ensure they can continue to protect the health status of their animal colonies and the integrity of their research.


7. How have you personally found working in the new post-Covid19 world?

Pre-COVID I spent around 90% of my time travelling and was always out and about visiting customers and attending congresses across Europe. This has been the longest I have not stepped on a plane to travel abroad for over 3 years! Working from home was at first very strange and took a lot of getting used to, however my partner is very pleased to now have me home during the week! However, I am now much more comfortable with it and so are the customers, we are no longer shy in switching on our cameras and having meetings virtually via conference call. Our team also now has a wonderful sense of togetherness and we are always supporting each other and keeping each other going. We have a virtual coffee morning once per week, which is great for having a break from emails and to socialise – I do love a natter over a cup of tea!


8. And finally, how do you manage a work-life balance? How do you relax at the end of the day?

Work-life balance is incredibly important, which is why I often force myself to stay away from the computer over the weekends and enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am very lucky to be living in London – it is such a cosmopolitan and vibrant city and even after 16 years here, there are still many areas I have not yet had the chance to explore! I absolutely love musical theatre and I try to see at least a couple of shows on the West End every year, something I am very much missing now. I also enjoy cooking and baking and, when I am not feeling lazy, going to the gym, with Zumba being a favourite class of mine!


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