Benchtalk 2022: Celebrating our customers’ progress
One of the best things about science is sharing it with colleagues. Scientists work their way towards breakthroughs by sharing ideas, working collaboratively, and understanding how others have approached a similar problem. That was the insight that inspired the creation of Benchtalk…. a place for our customers to come together to connect, learn, and share best practices and new ideas.
Themed Moving Science Forward, Together., Benchtalk 2022 brought customers, including Absci, AC Immune, Anagenex, Biogen, Bit.Bio, Beam Therapeutics, Gilead, Joywell, Lyell Immunopharma, Neurocrine, Rubius Therapeutics, Syngenta, Umoja Biopharma, Verve Therapeutics, and hundreds of others together to reconnect and meet new colleagues. The rooms in Boston, San Francisco, and Zurich were buzzing with conversations about bench life over the last two years, stories of digital transformation, aspirations for what the “lab of the future” will look like and near term next steps to achieve it, what a modern LIMS is and why it’s needed, Benchling learnings and best practices, and just general “real talk” about the challenges of science and the role of modern software.
During the event, attendees enjoyed:
Two inspiring keynotes from our co-founders on the vision for biotech R&D and the role that modern software can play in accelerating its progress.
Sixty-one rich, customer-led roundtable discussions on topics such as the Lab of the Future, Modern LIMS, Next-Gen Science, and Creating a Digital Foundation.
Hands-on demos of Benchling’s R&D Cloud with Benchling product experts.
And of course, drinks and networking fun that lasted well beyond the end of the event!
As I reflect on the events of the last month, I observed five key takeaways from biotech organizations of all sizes:
Your organizations are rapidly pushing the boundaries of science — and this requires adaptability. We heard from companies working on RNA, cell and gene therapies, next-generation agritech, sustainable foods, and more. The science and processes move rapidly, and the software used by scientists to support these innovations must adapt at the same pace, and be flexible to change.
You're looking to build the lab of the future now and automation, including lab equipment integration, process automation, and machine learning to support new biotech innovations is critical to making this transformation. Yet, at the heart of this concept of “lab of the future” is something more foundational: making it possible for scientists to easily find, access, and reuse data across the R&D lifecycle.
With so much data, you need a solid digital foundation. Automation and insights can only be delivered when data are structured, complete, and accessible. As one customer told me, “We still have scientists using paper, but those notes and that data is as good as lost. We have to go digital, and now I tell our scientists, if you have paper in the lab, it will be tossed!”
With the proper data foundation, digital strategies can be extended across the R&D lifecycle. There was considerable excitement around extending successful digital programs into all aspects of R&D, from development functions to in vivo studies to validated GxP environments, across multiple industries. Top of mind for our customers was reducing data silos across teams, improving collaboration between teams, and maintaining data security and control while moving to a cloud-first digital data environment.
Thoughtful implementations, internal change management, and community building are huge levers for success. It was awesome to see our customers sharing challenges, aspirations, ideas, and best practices around the move to digital in R&D. As one customer commented, “I came to learn from my peers what I’ll regret if I don’t think about and do early in the going digital process.” The appetite to build community amongst themselves for ongoing sharing and learning is HUGE. And something I believe we can play a meaningful role in going forward.
A bright future
There is one thing that came through more than anything else during Benchtalk, and it is that our world is going to be a better place because of this biotech R&D community. From a single shot to cure heart disease, to seeds that are drought tolerant, and materials that are environmentally friendly (made from mushrooms), the work these scientists are doing is truly world changing. And their passion, energy, and excitement for what’s ahead - despite all the challenges - is inspiring. We look forward to continuing to serve you and moving science forward, together.