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Lilly launches new robotic laboratory

Web-based platform provides broad access to the first-ever cloud laboratory to integrate automated biology and chemistry research capabilities in a closed-loop system.

Eli Lilly and Strateos have unveiled a new robotic laboratory in San Diego, California designed to accelerate the drug discovery process.

The Lilly Life Sciences Studio lab was conceptualized and designed by Lilly as part of a $90 million investment made in 2017 to expand Lilly’s research footprint in San Diego. Strateos will utilize 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.

The studio 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. The 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.

“Lilly is committed to finding new ways to accelerate the drug discovery process and this collaboration with Strateos further enables this mission,” said Bill Heath, senior vice president of Lilly’s Molecule Innovation Hub. “Through the studio lab, emerging drug discovery companies can gain access to a variety of tools and throughput usually reserved for much larger organizations. Lilly and Strateos are excited to expand access of this technology to others in the scientific community.”

The 11,500-sq. ft 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. The studio lab currently includes more than 100 instruments and storage for over 5 million compounds, all within a closed-loop and automated drug discovery platform. Drug discovery teams will be able to synthesize, test, and optimize 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.

“Lilly and Strateos have long histories of leadership in lab automation and we are pleased to combine our collective expertise to expanded access to this facility via the Strateos Robotic Cloud Lab platform. This laboratory represents the next evolution in drug discovery as we close the loop of synthesis and testing,” said Mark Fischer-Colbrie, CEO at 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-analyze cycle. This partnership furthers our mission to combine innovation, integration, and industrialization to drive information essential to accelerating discovery.”