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Automation Startup Raises $21.5M To Bring ‘Digital Revolution’ To Lab Space

Artificial, a Palo Alto-based startup, wants to accelerate and automate discovery in labs.

Artificial, a Palo Alto-based startup, just announced a $21.5M funding round, including investment from M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, to further develop and commercialize its lab automation software. 

The company seeks to help the industry accelerate innovation and product development, and in the process make lab space more efficient and effective, with its aLab Suite, software that can help automate and assist researchers. In effect, it would automate science and discovery and help replicate results faster, orchestrating how different processes and machines work together. 

“The basic premise of what we’re trying to do is accelerate the rate of discovery in labs,” firm CEO and co-founder David Fuller told TechCrunch.

In the automotive industry, roughly 6% of work is done by humans, while in labs, that figure is 60%. 

“Biology labs today are light- to semi-automated — the same state they were in when I started my academic research and biopharmaceutical career over 20 years ago. Most labs operate more like test kitchens rather than factories,” Kouki Harasaki, an investor at M12, said in a statement. 

Artificial, which is used by Thermo Fisher and Beam Therapeutics, said in a release touting the funding that the industry invests billions of dollars annually in lab informatics and automation software, and also loses billions of dollars every year trying to reproduce and translate academic research into breakthrough therapies. More automated workflows, via a unifying software platform like aLab Suite, would be a boon to the industry, the company said. Other automation startups in the lab space include Paige and Turing. 

Related Topics: Life Sciences, lab space, automation