No Longer Tasked with Cell Bank Management, Scientists Gain Time for Research


The pace of research is accelerating, but new aggressive discovery timelines mean that scientists face increasing pressure to deliver results quickly. A large pharmaceutical company was feeling the pressure of these expanding expectations, however a significant portion of their researchers were already preoccupied with the task of managing a variety of cell lines.

An internal company assessment found that its self-service cell banking process was inconsistent, leading to delayed experiments for their project teams. How could the company improve support in managing cell banks in order to accelerate their research?


An Avantor Services area manager, trained in Lean Six Sigma methodology, partnered with the scientific stakeholders to design a standard operating procedure that would exceed researcher expectations. A well-qualified BS-level scientist was recruited by Avantor Services to operate the newly defined process of quality checks, and a senior scientist from the customer’s cell biology function was identified to serve as the associate’s scientific advisor.

The scope of work for this new cell bank management team included:

  • Maintain and monitor online cryo-preserved cell line request system
  • Deliver cryo-preserved cells to researchers according to schedule
  • Maintain cryo-storage dewars
  • Perform cell line maintenance
  • Prep and ship cell aliquots to off-site locations
  • Manage all quality assurance checks and quality data
  • Thaw, expand, and freeze-down cell lines
  • Maintain inventory of original, primary, secondary, backup, and archive stocks
  • Maintain log books and detailed cell bank records
  • Assist researchers with setup of routine cell-based assays
  • Cross-train to provide support across cell-biology functional areas


Today, Avantor Services is supporting all of the cell bank needs of more than 100 researchers. Consistent and reliable quality has been delivered and is monitored through customer feedback and process metrics. Scientific mentorship allows our associate to grow professionally and take on increasingly more challenging scientific work, and the cell bank program now includes assisting researchers with routine cell-based assay setup.


“Avantor Services workers quickly displayed proficiency to handle the most basic aspects of the job and are now involved in the more advanced technical aspects of the cell bank, like passaging cells, banking, and growth curves.”
— The Pharmaceutical Company’s Principal Scientist of Innovative Medicines