At SLAS 2023, three Biosero customers described their automation journeys using our Green Button Go® solutions. Each of these three labs describe how implementing various stages of lab orchestration has helped hit specific goals for their lab, from the early automation stage of bringing robotic automation to the lab, to the other end of the spectrum of envisioning a fully automated lab for the future.
- Metagenomi explored what their path to robotic automation looked like, and how they brought their first automation workcell online.
- DeepCure reviewed how automating purification enabled multistep chemistry for their lab.
- Invitae discussed the steps that allowed them to engineer the future of “lights out automation”.
Metagenomi: The path to robotic integration
Metagenomi scientists study microbes collected from different environments around the world to identify new editing systems like CRISPR that can be used to develop gene therapies and treatments. Company scientists are currently working on gene editing therapies for conditions like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and other targets. A key challenge for the team was scaling up their gene editing enzyme screening assay protocols.
Approaching an automation project strategically ensures that the final system meets the scientists’ needs both now and going forward. For Metagenomi, that meant thinking critically about their workflows, including what kinds of labware would work for immediate and future needs. For example, using plates rather than PCR tubes and Omnitrays instead of Petri dishes would make it easier to scale production with automated liquid handlers and robotic arms. They also chose instruments that were integration-ready and easy for scientists to use.
Integrating instruments in the lab is time-consuming and expensive. Working with an integration partner eliminates the guesswork and ensures that customers have a smooth experience all around.
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How did Biosero help Metagenomi find success?
Biosero engineers worked with Metagenomi to connect instruments and systems from multiple vendors with the Green Button Go Scheduler solution. Our team also worked with Metagenomi scientists on physically installing the lab equipment including a robotic arm, shelving, electrical wiring, and integration tables. We also provided the drivers and sockets needed for their instruments, performed on-site testing, and helped with methods development. And we worked with them to lay out the instruments and equipment in a way that optimizes their workflows.
Implementing automation has helped Metagenomi scientists identify millions of Cas-associated proteins and CRISPR loci as well as thousands of novel nucleases. They are currently investigating 20 systems for potential use in gene therapies.
DeepCure: Automation for Therapeutics Development
Drug development companies are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to find candidates for their drug discovery programs. DeepCure scientists use AI to identify molecules that they can turn into valuable therapeutics for treating cancers and inflammatory diseases. The platform lets them quickly sift through large drug libraries and select compounds optimized for criteria such as selectivity and multiple ADME-tox properties that could be effective against challenging targets. Scientists then synthesize these compounds in the lab.
Synthesizing and purifying compounds for testing is slow, tedious work. And DeepCure scientists aim to generate thousands of molecules per month through detailed multi-step reactions. Adding more reaction steps to the synthesis process lets researchers incorporate even more properties into the final molecules. Automation can be a big help for companies like DeepCure that routinely run complicated synthesis workflows involving 10 or more reactions without sacrificing productivity. Also, they can seamlessly add more reaction steps as needed.
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How did Biosero help DeepCure find success?
DeepCure is building the lab infrastructure needed for both synthesis and purification including a liquid handler, robotic arm, purification system, incubator, decappers, sealers, and more. Green Button Go works with other systems in the DeepCure lab to connect instruments and to automate data flow across systems, software, and processes. Scientists can direct the robotic arm to move plates from a carousel to the synthesis platform and other systems. At each step, scientists capture detailed data on the samples for analysis.
Automating their compound synthesis and purification process is helping DeepCure scientists design better compounds for some of the most challenging targets. We are excited to be a part of their journey.
Invitae: Automation for the Future
Scientists at Invitae are thinking hard about their ideal lab of the future and working with Biosero to design a system capable of meeting those needs. Invitae has gone through nearly the entire automation continuum, from repeater pipetting, to liquid handling automation in 2015, to multiple integrated workcells in 2017. And now, they’re looking to develop a fully automated “Wlab.In Invitae’s 30,000-square-foot lab, scientists manage hundreds of integrated workcells. But scientists there are planning to deploy automation in ways that let them accomplish the same amount of work in a much smaller footprint. They are working with our engineers to make that possible.
Their research team was tasked to ‘rethink everything’ to enable 24/7 operations, reimagine the use of APIs, and keep both reproducibility and scalability at the forefront of their operations.
They brought developer operations to assay operations, along with two new pieces of technology that were developed: virtualized lab environments and digital twins, and automation CI/CD.
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How did Biosero help Invitae find success?
Biosero helped Invitae with workcell scheduling, lab orchestration, and became their build and integration partner. Invitae paired Biosero’s software with their approach to assay developer operations along with the other new areas they were building out. The key piece of software within GBG that made this all happen was Data Services, where Invitae piped events into Data Services and leveraged the build that Biosero put together. This combination allowed Invitae to actualize their build and reach their goals in a single calendar year.
As their integration partner, Biosero is providing automation software and in-depth experience with integrating and building physical systems in the lab. With our support, Invitae is building a fully automated, integrated, end-to-end track-based system that uses our Green Button Go Scheduler and Orchestrator solutions as well as our data services application.
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