A Universal Language for Biology

Synthace recently featured in an article in Forbes by Gemma Milne. She describes how we have built Antha, a cloud platform with a simple and easy to use graphical interface that enables sophisticated and flexible control of lab robots.

Why do we need a universal language for biologists?

Put simply, biological research is lagging behind in its use of automation when compared to engineering industries. When you consider the aerospace and automobile industries, you might think of robots carrying out automated processes to ensure reproducible design and manufacturing. This is a huge advance from how cars and aeroplanes were built 40-50 years ago, when large production lines of people were required to perform simple tasks.

These advancements are thanks to the implementation of computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering and automation, enabled by a suite of digital tools that have been developed since the 1980’s.

As Gemma writes, biology also has robots and automation that can perform biological experiments, but “…there’s not been the same push for an integrated digital platform to design, manage, automate and analyse the evermore complex process of life science.”

Adding, “biology is well-known for its reliance on repetitive manual tasks which require scientists to be physically pipetting or cell-culturing in the fume hood; for its lack of reproducible results when experiments are conducted and recorded in such a non-standardised manner; and for its "brute force" trial-and-error approach to drug discovery.”

Here at Synthace, we trying to change that. We’ve built Antha, a simple, easy-to-use and intuitive cloud-based platform that is device agnostic. As our CEO Tim Fell explained in the article:

“We don’t make equipment, we make a software platform that makes equipment more usable”.

What is the impact of the Universal Language for Biology?

Antha is a simple, easy-to-use and intuitive cloud-based system that speeds up your science. Overall, our data reveals using Antha can result in a full-time equivalent saving of up to 72 hours.

We recently worked with Oxford Biomedica to help them perform a multifactorial optimisation of their lentiviral transfection/transduction system for improved vector titre and robustness.

Lentiviral vectors deliver gene therapies to cells and have proved successful and safe in multiple clinical trials. However, the process of vector particle production can lead to ineffective as well as active vector particles. Optimal production of active over ineffective vector particles and their ultimate efficacy is largely determined by the respective ratios of the many components contributing to the transfection process.

Oxford Biomedica used Antha to plan and execute a complex multifactorial experiment to help address questions surrounding yield and robustness of vector particle production.

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Oxford Biomedica’s experimental setup simulated and previewed in the Antha UI
  • Antha increased vector titre upon transduction by 3 to 10-fold, with an 81% reduction in pure error.

  • The integrated digital approach enabled a 95-98% time saving when compared to trying to hard code an equivalent method using alternative liquid handling platform vendors’ software.

  •  Overall Antha provided an 83% time saving from combined design, planning and execution of the experiment, and a 32% saving of resources, such as pipette tips and consumables..

How easy is it to implement Antha in a laboratory?

Antha is easy to implement in your laboratory and our biological automation specialists are more than happy to spend time with you to get Antha performing the experiments you always wanted to do. Book a demo today to find out more.