The future is now in biotech research. Increasingly automated systems, artificial intelligence, and crossover opportunities into healthcare mark a shift in how labs conduct biotech research in 2022. With the costs to operate a biotech lab rising, and R&D spending in life sciences increasing by more than 20% in recent years, biotechs have had to get smarter about their systems and processes to stay afloat.
Cloud-based lab systems like ZAGENO are an integral part of the biotech landscape as lab managers seek out centralized platforms for ordering supplies and managing budgets, while offering accessibility and collaboration across teams. R&D labs have developed supply chain resilience, forging ahead with research by strategically managing their lab supply needs.
Biotech researchers set themselves up for success when labs align with the latest lab trends and technologies. Here is what it looks like to conduct biotech research in 2022.
Biotech Research is More Automated and Intelligent than Ever
Conducting biotech, pharmaceutical, and R&D research requires flexibility and adaptation, to address the challenges of an ever-changing research landscape. Automation and digitization of biotech research meets current demands of scientific experimentation, while gaining an upper hand on future research.
In 2021, 62% of pharma and healthcare organizations considered investing in AI, and 72% felt that AI would be critical to their operations in the future. About half of healthcare companies plan to use AI by 2025 — AI can be used in identifying clinical trial participants, analyzing information from healthcare records at scale, and other applications in pharmaceutical development and healthcare.
While some processes require meticulous or manual effort, automating biotech research hastens many lab tasks while cutting financial costs. Time saved also grants scientists more freedom to embark on experimentation stages
Human error can occur as a result of environmental and personal factors when performing manual tasks. However, an increased usage of software, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation in the lab, eliminates human error, and significantly reduces the risk of outside influences tarnishing research.
The biotech industry’s increased dependency and inclination toward remote and cloud-based operations also results in mass lab migration towards digitized processes and tools, such as automated scripts, and helps to remove human biases.
How Biotech, and Pharma Research is Conducted in 2022
Pharmaceutical R&D is more innovative and fast-moving than ever, with an increased presence of AI and machine learning in biotech labs, life science marketplaces and supply chains thrown into hyper-drive, and the coined phrase “Lab of the Future”. Biotech and pharma researchers look forward to these developments, benefiting not only their research, but also their ability to conduct research.
1. Automation, AI, and Machine Learning
Replacing humans with robots to conduct tasks has increasingly become a part of people’s lives, simplifying and automating mundane, or laborious tasks.
Biotech research is no different. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning assist scientists by tracking lab inventory and supplies through specific algorithms, collecting data, and streamlining lab workflows. Additionally, data retention and the quality of data improve, as new forms of virtual reality are introduced to biotech labs.
2. Supply Chain Resilience
Conducting biotech research in 2022 requires an organized supply chain operation, able to withstand global supply chain challenges with as few disruptions as possible. Like a well oiled machine, increasing visibility within your supply chain identifies potential gaps throughout the process. Utilizing real-time data, lab managers can prepare for potential shortages, as well as identify the future supply and demand of a particular product.
“[Implement] software that can improve efficiencies so that the actual day-to-day transport of supplies is streamlined” says Michelle Dipp, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Biospring Partners.
Further supply chain transparency is created thanks in part to a shift towards a subscription-based economy. With pricing no longer controlled by one particular seller, a diverse range of pricing and product options are now available to meet buyers’ demands, especially within life science marketplaces.
3. Digital Transformation in the Lab
Biotech labs in 2022 are becoming increasingly automated and more intelligent than ever before. What sort of digital transformations does this entail?
Along with digitized procurement processes and integrations between lab management tools, an increase in wearable technologies within the biotech lab enhances scientific performance among various stages of experimentation and research.
Digitization amongst procurement procedures increases the ability to track and monitor data, as well as efficiently plan for purchasing lab supplies. A life science marketplace, such as ZAGENO, compares vendors while granting access to a wide array of products on one convenient platform. Additionally, marketplaces serve as the one-stop shop for consolidating supply chain data, providing lab managers insight into tentative arrival dates and potential product delays, enabling agile experiment planning.
Modernized processes for lab supply ordering, and digitizing lab operations offering intelligent data within one centralized system, are defining features of the “lab of the future”.
4. Lab of the Future
Having the digital tools and technologies in place to forecast supply chain risks before they happen, and outsourcing alternative solutions sets up biotech labs for success. In addition, the lab of the future relies on real-time data, efficient, automated workflows, and a commitment to sustainable practices.
Cloud-based technologies have opened up a realm of new possibilities for record-keeping and storing data, and have altered the modern biotech lab workspace while keeping cross-collaboration among teams in check. Apps that use AI and integrations can keep energy use and costs down, optimize experiment planning, and enable more research to be conducted in and out of the physical lab space.
5. Healthcare Crossovers in Research
Biotech research experiences an incredible amount of crossover into the healthcare industry, especially with the development of mRNA therapeutics throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In partnership with Sanofi, Translate Bio’s advancements in mRNA therapeutics include research related to SARS-CoV-2, and further research into the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
“mRNA is that intermediary between our DNA, our genome, and making proteins… we could see mRNA therapeutics being applicable in a wide range of diseases,” says Dr. Richard Wooster, Chief Medical Officer at Translate Bio.
Additionally, partnerships between biotech companies and government organizations have formed as a result of medical crossover into biotech. ZAGENO customer CureVac, in collaboration with the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), aims to advance the development of The RNA Printer, CureVac’s mobile solution for providing rapid automation of mRNA supply.
Life science marketplaces enhance such research initiatives by offering a wide variety of targeted products. ZAGENO partners The Native Antigen Company and Sino Biological maintain well-stocked catalogs of SAS-CoV-2 products, having developed novel antigens to support researchers throughout the pandemic.
Choosing intelligent processes for supply ordering, utilizing artificial intelligence for manual lab tasks, or taking advantage of wearable technology when performing research and experiments are just a few of the exciting methods for conducting biotech research and saving valuable time in 2022. To learn more about streamlining biotech R&D research, explore the Guide to Running a Lean Lab.