Furthermore, automation enables labs to generate high quality data with improved comparability. At the early stage of the drug discovery process, being able to identify and analyse subtle nuances in data, can make the difference between identifying that breakthrough treatment. The improved data comparability offered by automation therefore increases the chance scientists will identify targets at the earliest opportunity, reducing the hours wasted re-analysing and screening compounds with little chance of success.
Automation can also work in tandem with other technologies, such as AI, which only has the potential to improve scientists capability to learn and develop more pioneering treatments. Furthermore, AI could allow automation to be ‘smart’, learning when something is about to go wrong, adjusting, and recovering, so reagents, cells and time are not lost.
In summary, automation in laboratories undertaking early drug discovery, not only allows scientists to significantly increase the number of target compounds screened, with lower repeat rates, but it generates a larger amount, and higher quality, of data – more comparable than manual alternatives. Further, it reduces costs, human error, allows beleaguered workforces to be redeployed to work on other innovative treatments and saves time. Finally, it increases the chance of identifying those candidate compounds which have the best chance of becoming life saving treatments.
What do lab managers think about automation?
Recent research from Automata underscores the benefit automation offers lab staff for increased time to pursue greater creativity and innovation, which is essential in the drug discovery sphere.
97% of lab managers surveyed associate automation with time savings – be that single-station, full-workflow, or both forms. The research also highlights the excitement among lab managers that automation can relieve existing pressures, scale up capacity and allow them to enjoy greater creative freedom in their work.