Words we lived by in 2023: A year in review at Benchling
They say there’s power in repetition.
Looking back at 2023, you'd hear the Benchling team utter some words again and again, like 'FAIR-ification', 'purpose-built', and 'Allotropy' (no, not a typo…).
These rang out across every meeting room, over every Zoom call, in every Slack message — as unofficial themes or slogans that guide how we build at Benchling.
This year as we built some of our most exciting advancements yet, these were the words we lived by that helped bring it all to life. Here’s a look back at what we built at Benchling in 2023.
Data is a biotech company’s most valuable asset — and R&D data growth has been explosive in recent years. According to our industry report, 85% of respondents expect at least 2x growth in R&D data within their teams alone, in the next twelve months. Adding to the challenge, over half of R&D organizations use more than 100 lab instruments, many of which aren’t connected to the cloud. In 2023, we knew we needed to wrangle this problem: no more siloed data.
Our solution? We launched one of our most-anticipated products: Benchling Connect, which brings all your scientific data from lab instruments and systems together into one platform for end-to-end data management and analysis.
We started with a set of 12 out-of-the-box instrument integrations — and in recent months we’ve added NucleoView Software, Lunatic & Stunner Analysis, and Thermo NanoDrop.
We also confronted data standardization challenges head on by partnering with Allotrope to launch a GitHub library of open source converters that format instrument-generated data to the Allotrope Simple Model (ASM). We call it Allotropy.
FAIR data is a critical need across R&D. Data platforms are the biggest priority investment across R&D and IT in the next year, with 57% reporting this as very or extremely important to grow adoption. Making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable has proven to be very complicated and difficult.
In 2023, we continued to invest in helping organizations work towards FAIR principles. We know that it’s critical to structure data so it’s useful, and build processes and tooling that enable and maintain that structured data capture over time. So we delivered functionality to improve data capture, integrity, and accessibility in Benchling. Some recent highlights include:
Sub-templates: Improve the flexibility and scalability of templates, so you can define reusable entry contents
Forms: Make requests faster, easier, and more consistent
Reviews: Confirm work was completed fully and as intended
Container history reports: Provide comprehensive tracking for sample data; available in Validated Cloud in January
Configuration migration: Systematically update configuration dependencies among tenants
Read our white paper on making R&D data your competitive advantage →
Our customers perform cutting-edge R&D across a wide range of drug modalities. This year marked a big turning point for biopharma, with nearly 60% of the pipeline shifting towards large molecules and advanced therapies. These scientists deserve software that’s purpose-built to power the complex work they do. Some highlights include:
Concatenate amino acid sequences: Builds on our release of RNA and DNA concatenation, so you can rapidly and combinatorially generate related protein sequences in Benchling at scale
Combinatorial cloning: Design and view plasmids in bulk while using popular in-silico cloning methods like Golden Gate and Gibson
In vivo studies improvements: Use task management and scheduling with defined start and end dates, and clone study designs to easily replicate a previous study
R&D organizations today need to work seamlessly across research, development, and beyond. Meanwhile, 75% say they collaborate across 10+ people. A major focus for Benchling this year was to accelerate process development by improving team collaboration and technology transfer.
This year we announced Benchling Bioprocess, our cloud-native solution for high-throughput process development. Bioprocess helps development teams accelerate their path to critical milestones, while simplifying technology transfers into manufacturing and enabling data science.
This new product will launch in Spring 2024.
Read our white paper on the rapidly changing expectations of process development →
Little efficiencies add up. So this year we constantly thought, "How can we eliminate the small difficulties and find meaningful moments where we can bring delight into the daily lives of scientists?"
From flexible notebook sections and search improvements, to bulk user creation and session timeout settings, we’ve made dozens of improvements to every part of the Benchling Experience this year.
And of course we hosted our annual Polish Bash — a full week to focus on building small, but meaningful improvements that make using Benchling more joyful. In this year’s bash, we shipped over 250 features, like Paste transpose in the Benchling notebook, “all archived” search filtering, and customizable audit log columns, to name a few.
Speaking of bringing efficiency to everyday life, have you heard of ChatGPT? In 2023 our team of AI and ML engineers and data scientists jumped straight into the latest technology and released several AI experiments in Benchling like chart generation with LLMs, report generation with LLMs, and ML-driven bioprocess and strain optimization. This is all in addition to AlphaFold, accessible in Benchling.
A successful digital transformation is an enormous undertaking, which is why our partnership with customers goes far beyond just software. In 2023, we put extra focus on ensuring your success and growth with Benchling through several new programs.
Success packages: Best practices, training, and optimization services with everything you need for a successful digital transformation
Solution Accelerators: Pre-built Benchling configurations, templates, data models, and best practices for the fastest growing areas of biotech, like cell therapy, gene therapy, antibodies, and more, designed by our team of experts with both scientific and technical backgrounds
Benchling Learning Labs: Certification program with on-demand courses and virtual certification exams, so you can skill up on anything from conducting essential R&D in Benchling, to just getting started
Partner Program: Our global ecosystem of trusted, certified partners that offer you advisory, specialized, and implementation services
This year, we welcomed customers to our online Benchling Community — a space that’s brimming with ideas, best practices, and conversation led by fellow Benchling users. Since launching in August, our nearly 700 community members shared over 300 posts and submitted over 200 product roadmap ideas. Join the conversation, and bring your colleagues along, too!
We also hosted our biggest-ever annual customer and community event, Benchtalk. Hundreds of scientists, data scientists, IT leaders, and research executives came together in Boston and London for two days of nonstop learning. From industry leader panels to user-led workshops, to a claw machine filled with our favorite stuffed jellyfish, Jeffy P, Benchtalk 2023 was one for the books, all thanks to our incredible community.
If there’s power to repetition… we’ll say it loud and proud: we’re looking forward to an even better 2024, helping companies across the globe unlock the power of biotechnology.