Moving science forward with our customers

Sajith Wickramasekara
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Last month, we had the incredible opportunity to bring together hundreds of our customers at Benchtalk in Boston, San Francisco, and Zurich to connect, learn, and share with one another. After far too long apart, being back together in person was both energizing and inspiring.

While there, we had the opportunity to hear our customers' thoughts on where biotechnology, their industries, and their R&D are headed. Those conversations reinforced our optimism for the future that lies ahead of the scientific progress they are making. 

Biotech Today

Biotech is today where the internet was in 1995. It has already led to remarkable progress, but most of the innovation is ahead of us. In the last five years alone, we saw the first gene therapy approved, the first cell therapy approved, and the first in-human trial of a CRISPR gene editing medicine, and most notably, the first mRNA vaccine approved. More recently, breakthroughs such as Regeneron’s COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment, Absci’s biotherapeutic proteins, Bolt Threads’ Mycelium leather alternative, and Joywell Foods' plant-based sweetener continue to accelerate the pace of innovation.

But R&D is hard work. Teams can experience lots of failures over many years in the process of bringing a transformative product to market. We heard three consistent themes from our customers where software can help bend the curve:

  1. Their science is complex. Today's advanced biomolecules now require multidimensional data models. Whether engineering T cells, designing new CRISPR libraries, or chemically modifying RNA, scientists require new ways of representing their complex structures. Yet, they’re still using the same old software systems - software that wasn’t built for modern science or the needs of modern scientists.

  2. They're experiencing an explosion of data in both volume and complexity that is made challenging by the fact that scientific data lives in silos, scattered across multiple disconnected systems in an unstructured way. There’s an unmet need to integrate data at scale, and to apply machine learning and advanced analytics to make better decisions and draw insights faster. 

  3. They’re seeing the industry grow increasingly specialized. This means that getting a product to market depends on multiple teams to collaborate across the continuum of research, development, and manufacturing - requiring multiple handoffs across teams or even with other biotechs, academia, or CROs. Legacy systems and manual processes simply can’t support this kind of complex collaboration, creating more friction as additional stakeholders are brought to the table. 

We built the R&D Cloud to respond to these challenges - because modern science requires modern software. The R&D Cloud is a central source of truth that brings people, data, and processes together seamlessly so that R&D teams can stay focused on science, not software.

Our R&D commitment 

Like our customers, we’re an R&D organization that is continuously innovating to support our customers evolving needs. We are focused on four key areas where our customers are headed: next generation science, machine learning and insights, end-to-end collaboration, and an automated and connected ecosystem. 

Recently, we unveiled the following capabilities to support these investment areas: 

Next-Gen Science

  • We unveiled a beta integration with DeepMind’s AlphaFold so scientists can select any amino acid sequence within the R&D Cloud, run the AlphaFold algorithm on it, and visualize the resulting protein structure. On top of that, this integration is built on a scalable machine learning platform that brings more advancements in predictive sequence design into the hands of scientists faster. 

Machine Learning & Insights

  • We made significant improvements to how our customers can manage large-scale data so it is truly findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. New capabilities now allow customers to ingest large-result datasets up to 7X faster. 

  • But, it’s not enough to have all your data in one place, we want you to be able to search it quickly. New search capabilities empower our customers to find your key results in large datasets in under one second.  

End-to-End Collaboration

  • We also unveiled how Benchling works as a new modern LIMS built for biology.  Answering the call from customers who were tired of the many shortcomings of their legacy LIMS solutions – they’re onerous and brittle and not built for advanced biomolecule production – we unveiled our modern LIMS solution. Benchling’s LIMS is connected and adaptable to optimize handoffs across teams, track samples and workflows throughout the lifecycle, and ensure compliance and data integrity. 

  • Additionally, Benchling Insights now empowers scientists to aggregate data across teams and share operational and scientific performance with reporting dashboards to make decisions faster. 

  • And finally, we’re bringing new teams together seamlessly. Benchling Studies connects in vivo teams - their data and processes - into R&D workflows to accelerate study startup and empower our customers to capture more accurate in life data.   

Automated & Connected Ecosystem

  • We’re investing in continuing to integrate with your larger IT ecosystem so scientists don’t have to manually copy data across multiple software tools. We recently rolled out new developer-friendly interfaces, pre-built instrument integrations, and a partner application ecosystem to create a richer experience so that our customers and their teams can work together seamlessly. 

You can read more about these capabilities here or register here to attend our live event on what’s coming next. And at any point, you can visit our What’s New webpage to read about the latest Benchling product news. 

Our partnership with our customers is what enables us to deliver the most modern, user-friendly software that will unlock the power of biotechnology, and we look forward to continuing on this journey with you as we move science forward together. 

Powering breakthroughs for over 1,200 biotechnology companies, from startups to Fortune 500s

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