No lab? No problem, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. A platform developed by Menlo Park, California-based startup Strateos allows life sciences researchers to conduct experiments and analyses from anywhere in the world, with a little help from some robotic friends.
The SmartLab platform connects remote research and development teams to either of Strateos’ two SmartLab Studios. Each lab is fully equipped with all the advanced research instruments necessary for drug discovery, cell and gene therapy and synthetic biology processes; together, the studios total more than 14,000 square feet of lab space.
Those tools are run by a fleet of robotics and automated workflows, which can be customized to fit the needs of each life sciences client. With those customizations in place, researchers can complete lab work not only without their own physical lab but also without doing much of the actual, more tedious work themselves.
In addition to this outsourcing model, Strateos’ clients can bring its Command & Control software into their facilities to design and manage automated workflows in their own labs and those of their collaborators.
Strateos will be able to continue developing the SmartLab platform and its remote automated technology with its recently closed series B funding round, which brought in $56.1 million for the company. The financing was co-led by DCVC and Lux Capital and also included participation from several new investors that included Eli Lilly & Co., among others.
It follows an $8.5 million series A closed in 2015, when the company was known as Transcriptic. Strateos was born in mid-2019 when Transcriptic fused its robotic, cloud-based lab platform with 3Scan’s automation, machine learning and computer vision software to build a remote, automated lab platform specifically targeting drug discovery and development efforts.
Strateos will direct the new capital to adding new research and development tools to its SmartLab platform and studios and speeding up the process of getting those tools into the hands of more biotech and pharma scientists.
“Life science research needs faster, more reliable and lower-cost data to fully leverage artificial intelligence-powered analysis tools,” said Strateos CEO Mark Fischer-Colbrie. “Our unique fleet of lab automation modules, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, speed the design-make-test-analyze cycle and generate clean, AI-enabled data.”
Lilly’s participation in the funding round builds on the partnership it forged with the company in 2018. The pair teamed up with the intention of making new life sciences innovations available to every research team working in drug discovery and development.
Their collaboration stemmed from Lilly’s 2017 commitment of $90 million to expand its research footprint in San Diego. It resulted in the launch of Strateos’ second SmartLab Studio, also known as the Lilly Life Sciences Studio, in the area in early 2020.