Yvonne Linney, CEO
Life science laboratory processes have traditionally required a lot of human intervention and interpretation, in addition to the need to follow specific protocols and methods chronicled in scientific papers or mundane lab notebooks. “Consequently, this has made the results difficult to reproduce. It’s estimated that the reproducibility rate in pre-clinical research is as low as 50 percent, translating to over 28 Billion dollars being wasted,” points out Yvonne Linney, CEO of Transcriptic. Yvonne believes that robotics figures prominently in reducing that waste in the drug discovery arena by ensuring greater reproducibility and more consistent laboratory results.
To achieve that goal, Menlo Park, CA-based Transcriptic has built a robotic cloud lab, focused on bioanalysis and pre-clinical assaysin drug discovery and development. Using high-throughput robotics, in combination with software scripted protocols and IoT tools, the firm “turns biology into information technology” accelerating the entire drug discovery process by generating the required scientific data reproducibly across each experimental run.
The company’s robotic cloud lab is built on the Transcriptic Common Lab Environment (TCLE), which connects all devices in the workflow via the cloud to the scientist through their computer. It’s a web-based, deeply integrated stack of biology, robotics, and software that ensures the execution of experiments, based on the specifications issued by the researchers. In addition to the robotic cloud lab, the firm has added an application layer that provides scripted protocols that can be accessedby anybody from anywhere with authorized access. This, in turn, provides significant consistency, reproducibility, and scalability on a day-to-day basis.
Transcriptic works closely with clients in a custom-assay mode to assist them in converting protocols they are already running in their lab. Equipped with a highly experienced team of application scientists, the company converts these protocols into scripts that can be run on the robotic cloud lab. “We realized that not many biologists are good at coding. In order to expand the market to the drug discovery scientists, we have taken that pain away and worked with them to code the protocols,” states Dr. Ben Miles, Product Manager. Once the clients are happy with the performance of the code, they can run the protocol as much as they need to, whenever they need to, from wherever they need to, through the Transcriptic WebApp. These protocol scripts can then be shared with anyone else in their organization wanting to run the same workflows, facilitating consistency and greatly increasing reproducibility.
Transcriptic has introduced high-throughput robotics and cloud computing to turn biology into information technology and advance the entire drug discovery process
One particular scenario had a client keen on exploring new therapeutic areas, but they didn't have the resources to commit their usual team size. The client leveraged Transcriptic's robotic cloud lab to sort out the underlying testing in the new therapeutic area. As a result, the client was able to accomplish the same degree of output as a team ten times the size would have while testing a new therapeutic area. The client eventually ended up sending large batch jobs to Transcriptic on a regular basis, so they could focus on the data generated (accessible directly through the WebApp) to seek answers to the questions they had.
Transcriptic is expanding the types of assays they offer beyond luminescence or fluorescence using plate readers and qPCR machines to measure either proteins or nucleic acids. Moving ahead, Transcriptic is also looking to take their robotic lab inside a client's environment to ensure that all the efficiencies are realized and transferring the samples is not even a FedEx package away.