At Biothello’s San Diego headquarters, a mobile robot named Yoda rolls down the hallway, directing visitors directly to the company’s acceleration lab.
After that, Yoda goes to work. To demonstrate how Biocello technology can help speed up drug discovery through automation, we will remove and deliver biological assay trays across scanning instruments scattered throughout the lab.
Biosero does not manufacture the robot itself. Yoda is a combination of an autonomous ground vehicle, a robot arm, and a machine vision system that allows you to work safely with humans.
A privately held company is creating a software suite that manages workflows. It’s basically a task performed by a robot or a myriad of other scientific instruments in an automated life science lab.
“Our software schedules the use of these devices and works together to form a complete solution that enables the contextual use of data from all of these devices,” said the founder of Biosero. Tom Gilman, also and CEO, said.
When most of us think of industrial robots, what comes to mind is a giant robotic arm in a cage, or perhaps a warehouse robot that takes out goods, swinging a car door in place in a car factory.
However, automation has been part of the life sciences perspective for over 30 years, dating back to Big Pharma’s high-throughput screening experiments, combining molecular libraries of overlooked compounds to treat disease.
Similar research continues to this day. The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego recently scanned 12,000 molecules in the library in hopes of diverting some of them as a treatment for COVID-19 patients.
With the help of robots, researchers have found some promising candidates and published their findings in the Journal Nature Medicine last week.
Scripps Research has used Biosero’s Green Button Go scheduling software in its projects to allow it to be completed in weeks instead of months.
“It’s an end zone for us,” Gilman said. “That’s what wakes us up in the morning. Show us the cure. Show us the results. We could see it.”
The growth of genome-based diagnostics, such as the gold standard PCR test for detecting COVID-19, has led the lab to further automate and increase volumes of tasks such as liquid handling and sample transport.
Last year, during a pandemic, San Diego’s sequencing giant Illumina launched a project to sequence the COVID-19 virus genome from thousands of patient samples per day to map coronavirus variants. did.
Biosero combined automated pre-sequence workstations for sample extraction, amplification, conversion, and other steps to help Illumina meet its aggressive throughput goals.
“When Illumina came to us and asked us to devise a system that could test 10,000 samples a day, we would provide a solution based on existing automation technology within a few months of last year. We were able to do that, “said Imad. Mansour, Customer Success Director of Biosero.
Biosero is located at the crossroads of technology and life sciences. Business leaders in the region have long advertised the potential of local software and technology companies to develop products for San Diego’s fast-growing pharmaceutical, biotechnology, next-generation sequencing, and clinical diagnostics companies. I did.
Mike Clen, Head of Connect / San Diego Venture Group, said: “Something is happening at the fringe.”
Biosero’s Customer Success Director, Imad Mansour, will be demonstrating a mobile robot at Biosero’s headquarters in San Diego, California, on May 4, 2021. Biosero creates a software platform called Green Button Go that manages workflows.
Can robots speed up drug discovery?
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