How AstraZeneca created an automated DNA assembly framework to support rapid and cost-efficient construct generation

Delivering a fully automated laboratory ecosystem

“Plasmids are critical for so many processes in early drug discovery,” says Öling. “They’re critical for protein production, cell line engineering, CAR-T cell therapy, viral vector generation, therapeutic genome editing, mRNA/Vaccine production and more.” The time it takes and the cost of producing them is a critical limiting factor. When it comes to automation combined with a fragmentation algorithm, AstraZeneca is the only team doing it at this scale. Benchling helped make that possible by streamlining processes, eliminating time-consuming manual interrogations, adding structure to sample management, and bringing standardization to their entire workflow.

While Öling’s team has used Benchling for DNA construct assembly, he says it’s easy to imagine using Benchling for other design, discovery, or workflow handoffs. The most time-consuming part was configuring the whole workflow, says Öling, adding that the learning curve for Benchling was very quick. “There are several appealing things about Benchling — it’s cloud based, intuitive, has good DNA assembly tools, and is super easy to get into,” he says. Other teams at AstraZeneca have expressed interest in leveraging Benchling for their own processes, too. Öling is working with Benchling to implement a way to track timelines and cost savings from their automated DNA construct assembly platform directly within Benchling.

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