Digital laboratories for accelerating materials optimization and discovery with Atinary Technologies

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

Advanced materials play an essential role in technology innovations across industries to address the big challenges in climate, energy, and health. However, until today, only a fraction of all existing materials have been explored. Moreover, discovering and developing these materials is a very slow and expensive process.  The deeptech startup Atinary Technologies has set itself the task of changing that.

Founded in 2019, the startup develops machine learning (ML) and technology tools to accelerate materials optimization and discovery in digital labs. Atinary’s software platform (SDLabs) allows users to unleash ML solutions and enables smart laboratories that can become fully autonomous, they call them the Self-Driving Labs™.

In an interview with 5-HT, Dr. Loïc Roch, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, explains the future-oriented work of Atinary. He also shares his impressions and expectations from participating in our X-Linker "Lab of the Future" this year in February and explains what Atinary hopes to gain from the ongoing collaboration with 5-HT.

Dr. Loïc Roch, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Atinary Technologies 

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague in a chemical company?

“Atinary Technologies is a Swiss-American deeptech startup based in Lausanne and Silicon Valley. The team develops market-leading ML algorithms and technology tools that accelerate research and development (R&D) and innovation to make better materials exponentially faster, greener, and cheaper.

Atinary's cloud-based platform “SDLabs” allows users to seamlessly deploy ML and automation to run autonomous experimentation in Self-Driving Labs™.”

What problem motivated you to start the company?

“New materials create new markets and define eras. Moreover, materials play a central role in technology innovation to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges in climate, energy, and health. The problem is that materials R&D is too slow and expensive. Today, optimizing and discovering new materials takes years and costs tens to hundreds of millions of Euros.

In order to reduce the lab-to-market time and cost by 10x or 100x we have to re-imagine the R&D process. We have to rethink and upgrade how we do experiments to fully integrate automation and ML solutions. These technologies are mature today. Doing so will ultimately boost innovation and help accelerate the solutions to big challenges, such as the transition to a sustainable economy.”

The Team behind Atinary: back (f.l.t.r.): Daniel Pacheco (Software Engineer), Noa Défago (Front-end Developer), Dr. Alberto García Durán (Sr. AI/ML Specialist), center (f.l.t.r.): Sébastien Créoff (Sr. Software Engineer), Linnea Mørch Folkmann Garner (Data Scientist), Alain Foulon (Software Engineer), front: Dr. Loïc Roch (Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer), missing: Dr. Hermann Tribukait (Co-Founder and CEO) based in Silicon Valley, Katerina Vriza (Data Scientist), Dr. Florian Formica (Lab Integration Specialist)

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

“Atinary Technologies provides a holistic solution to address the R&D challenges and innovation needs of chemical and materials companies. Atinary’s cloud-based platform “SDLabs” allows our customers to deploy state-of-the-art ML algorithms to optimize and accelerate their current workflows and processes. Users can leave behind the slow and tedious trial-and-error cycle by applying Atinary’s data-driven approach that makes R&D faster, greener, and cheaper.

Atinary’s technology empowers operators, chemists and materials scientists in their daily research activities and leverages their time. Our use cases demonstrate significant improvements in productivity, cost reductions and returns on investment. Moreover, these technology solutions expand the materials search space and allow to solve complex multi-objecting and multi-parameter optimization problems that are intractable with current approaches.”

A close-up from the lab prototype of Atinary’s innovative solution

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

“Today, Atinary has applications and proof of concept cases relevant for a number of industry sectors - including green chemistry, clean energy, energy storage and pharma. Atinary launched a strategic partnership with IBM Research Europe in Zurich. In this collaboration, IBM and Atinary are demonstrating the power of integrating ML and automation technologies to optimize and accelerate chemical reactions with Atinary’s Self-Driving Lab™ platform. We are also working with a global energy company, as well as national research labs and universities in North America and Europe.

Ideal customers are leading companies and research labs that want to accelerate innovation in the chemical, materials, energy, and pharma sectors. We are also looking for strategic partners sharing Atinary’s ambitious vision and mission that are ready to deploy cutting-edge ML technology at scale in high-impact projects.”

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

“The 5-HT X-Linker event is a fantastic launching pad to expand Atinary’s visibility and global network. Atinary is looking forward to connecting and expanding high-impact collaborations with leading companies in Europe and around the world. We are also looking forward to bringing on board impact investors and venture funds who share our values and long-term goals.”