Artificial redefines lab automation

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

For the Lab 4.0, innovative automation concepts and digitalization are crucial, because this is the only way to increase efficiency in the future, master the complexity of laboratory processes and optimize workflows. Artificial Deutschland GmbH, a life-science startup based in Augsburg, Germany, is precisely advancing this vision.

Founded in 2021, it offers its customers a unique automation software platform. This suit of unified applications can control an entire lab, giving Artificial's customers a single, easy-to-use platform to operate their lab efficiently, reliably and error-free. What's unique about this is that humans are always kept in the loop. 

In an interview with 5-HT, Dr. Slawomir Sander, CEO of Artificial Deutschland GmbH, provides exciting insights into the business model of the young chemistry startup and explains how their Artificial platform carries out everything - from request to result. 

Dr. Slawomir Sander, CEO of Artificial Deutschland GmbH

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague from the industrial sector? 

“Our mission is to modernize science labs through streamlined technology and user experience. We developed a cloud-based product suite that allows our customers to go from request to result in one single platform. They run, monitor, and orchestrate all manual and automated work from wherever they are creating cloud-enabled and AI ready labs.”

What problem motivated you to start the company? 

“Life science did not have its industrial revolution, yet. The way in which labs work has not fundamentally changed as labs have been slow to adopt the best digital technologies from the Internet and key concepts from the Digital Factory.  There exist lots of partially automated equipment, but lab informatics lack unified data models and platforms. This results in both a fragmented infrastructure and incomplete tools to meet the needs of our customers' workflows.”

There are many advantages that Artificial addresses with its solution

How do you convince an industrial company to set up a pilot project with you? 

“Our solution enables our customers to plan, monitor, and execute their workflows more efficiently while keeping the human-in-the-loop. SOPs are available in our digital twin as digital assistants and drastically reduce the number of errors that typically happen which would result in destroyed runs. Our scheduling and optimization suite computes a plan honoring both, operator and machine capacities and availabilities. 
By providing a digital record of all sample, automation, and manual operations data alongside local scheduler log files, we provide a one-stop-shop experience for all data. Using our product saves our customers a lot of time, money, and operator frustration.  

Through one single orchestration platform, Artificial offers its customers a lot of advantages when operating their lab 

Customers choose to pilot with us when it is clear we are a trusted expect creating tools and a platform that addresses pain points they clearly experience.  Do they require a lot of manual labor to interact with complex equipment?  Is the cost of a human mistake high?  Have they spent a lot of money on complex capital equipment and aren’t sure that they are using it efficiently?  Do they have visibility and tracking of all their lab operations?  

If they have these problems, then getting to pilot has not been a challenge.”

Who are your current customer (groups) and who do you want your potential customers to be? 

“Our current customer base can be largely separated into two distinct categories.  Category one are end-user labs, typically in “tech-forward” R&D segments such as synthetic biology of cell and gene therapy.  
The second category represents traditional instrumentation or automation suppliers that do not have the capability of corporate structures needed to modernize traditional software stacks into the Cloud.  
Thus, our most desired current customers are tech-forward biotech firms in the R&D space.  

For our potential customers, we want to follow our early R&D customers from early phases of development all the way through to production minimizing the cost of tech transfer to production.  Related to this, we need to certify our products as ready for clinical usage so we can participate in the regulated portions of the life science market.  
So, a second kind of future customer we seek are larger scale companies that invest in both R&D and are interested in reducing the tech transfer time to production for regulated products in the clinical diagnostic or therapy spaces.”

Where do you see yourself in 3 years and how can 5-HT support you? 

“In three years, we will be close to the edge of our Series B runway.  The company will have scaled from its ~35 people now to hundreds of people with the primary geographies of focus being North American and Europe.  We will have a mature product platform and full instrumentation and informatics connectivity across the primary equipment and software systems found in the lab.  

Organizationally, we will have scaled our R&D, marketing, and sales into both Europe and North America and will have started the beginnings of our Asian expansion.  We will have OEM agreements with the main lab automation suppliers and will be ubiquitous in Synthetic Biology and Cell and Gene Editing companies.  We will serve the regulated space and be a core technology building block of small- and large-scale drug discovery and production.  

5-HT can support us by providing exposure and access to potential future customers, potentially through talent networking and possibly through funding.”

What do you expect from the 5-HT X-linker “Lab of the Future“ and what is your overall feedback of the event? 

“With the help from 5-HT and in particular at the X-linker "Lab of the Future" we want to meet new customers, potential strategic partners, end-users, and new friends and shape Life Science, Automated, together.”

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