A San Francisco based company, Emerald Therapeutics, presented last year an internet-accessible, fully automated lab: the Emerald Cloud Laboratory (ECL). The enormous success of the initiative and the affordable price of their services forced them to scale their offering over 2015. By the end of 2016 they expect to be able to offer 100% of all life science tests.
Emerald Therapeutics aims to free scientists from worrying about machines or manpower, and instead focus on thinking about the science. ECL allows scientists from anywhere in the world with an internet connection to design experiments in the ECL web and have them executed by robots. The results are stored in a database on the cloud, accessible by the user, and can be analyzed with the company’s software. The experimental details are specified in a Symbolic Lab Language (or SLL), a framework designed by Emerald that allows to give unambiguous orders to the robots performing the tasks. Any thinkable experiment can be done: it just needs to be translated into code.
Accelerating startups and helping researchers
The costs are between $5-25 per sample, a very reasonable price that helps life sciences startups to accelerate their business. Besides, startups and academics get lower prices, and there are volume discounts. Another key element is the accuracy and repeatability of experiments performed by robots, where human error is eliminated. ECL also offers the possibility of sharing data with people working in similar fields. Experimental results are obtained within days.
All the robots undergo strict quality controls that the users can access. The researchers can also see maintenance logs, sample histories and environmental data.
Due to the enormous success, ECL has been expanding its lab over the last year, and will be adding new services over 2016 until all standard life sciences experiments are fully covered. Novel experiments and custom assays will also be available through their partnering program.