Eli Lilly automates drug discovery lab with help from Strateos

New cloud laboratory in California has integrated automated biology and chemistry research capabilities in a closed-loop system

Image as seen in video on Eli Lilly company website

Eli Lilly and Strateos have unveiled a new robotic laboratory in California. The new automated room has been designed to accelerate the drug discovery process.

In June 2019, Transcriptic and 3Scan merged to combine their engineering capabilities in developing automated systems for chemistry, biology, and tissue analysis. The resulting new company was Strateos.

The new studio lab will be operated on the Strateos (formerly Transcriptic) technology platform, which enables research scientists to remotely control their experiments via a web-based interface. The integrated system gives scientists the benefit of running and refining experiments in real-time with a high degree of reproducibility.

The lab physically and virtually integrates several areas of the drug discovery process together—including design, synthesis, purification, analysis, sample management, and hypothesis testing—into a fully automated platform.

Strateos will utilise their robotic cloud platform to enable the access of this remote-controlled lab to other drug discovery companies and research scientists through its secure cloud-based platform as part of the collaboration.

An inside look

The Lilly Life Sciences Studio lab was conceptualised and designed by Lilly as part of a $90m investment made in 2017 to expand Lilly's research footprint in San Diego, California.

The studio lab currently includes more than 100 instruments and storage for over five million compounds, all within a closed-loop and automated drug discovery platform. Drug discovery teams will be able to synthesise, test, and optimise compounds remotely for lead generation in biological and medicinal chemistry experiments in a closed-loop and integrated manner via the Strateos Robotic Cloud Lab platform.

Bill Heath, Senior VP of Lilly's Molecule Innovation Hub, said: "Through the studio lab, emerging drug discovery companies can gain access to a variety of tools and throughput usually reserved for much larger organisations.”

The 11,500 sqft lab is located within the Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego and will be operated by Strateos. Technology partners include: Hamilton, The Morse Group, Zinsser, Chemspeed, Hamilton Storage, Labcyte, Biosero, Tek-Matic, Accelerated Machine Design and Engineering, and Virscidian.

“This laboratory represents the next evolution in drug discovery as we close the loop of synthesis and testing," said Mark Fischer-Colbrie, CEO of Strateos. “Through this collaboration, we are building on our current on-demand biology capabilities and integrating automated chemical synthesis to enable a complete, rapid design-make-test-analyse cycle."

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