Phenotypeca announces commencement of ‘Lab 4.0’ Project

This unique consortium will design and build our production platform lab using Robotics, Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), enabling Phenotypeca to reduce the time and cost to develop their industrial strains of baker’s yeast, meaning that customers can make medicines more affordable to everyone. 

Phenotypeca, the leading baker’s yeast biofoundry and generators of the world’s largest collection of genetically diverse strains, announced today that it has brought together a consortium of experts in the implementation of Lab 4.0 approach. The aim is to deliver a prototype that increases the number of commercial studies that can be onboarded by March 2023, and a full production platform by March 2024 at their facility in BioCity, Nottingham.

To lead this project, Phenotypeca engaged some of the thought leaders and implementation experts in laboratory software, cloud and AI, as well as equipment and software automation, integration and facility design for Life Sciences. Together, the senior directors and engineers from PhenotypecaSynthaceBryden Wood and a major cloud and AI software provider have begun to collaborate on the design, development and implementation of Phenotypeca’s Lab 4.0.  This project builds on successful approaches each of the member companies have used previously as well as the effective principles and structure of established Industry 4.0 projects.

By integrating the best of automation, robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and Phenotypeca’s unique know-how, the Lab 4.0 design will dramatically increase the number of PhenoStart™ studies that are currently possible using standard lab equipment and manual techniques. The consortium is developing a virtual Lab 4.0 model in silico to significantly reduce the time and cost of detailed design of the physical lab, so that the March 2024 production lab 4.0 operational date can be realised.

Keith Williams, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Phenotypeca says: “With the collective insight, vision, expertise and experience of the consortium members, we aim to significantly change the capabilities of our baker’s yeast platform to be faster, scalable and able to generate significant additional intellectual property (IP) for the business. Applying the Lab 4.0 approach will significantly increase our output, enabling our customers to have industrial strains that reduce the cost of goods of medicines and hopefully reduce the regulatory approval timelines. Our ultimate goal for our company, and the aim of this project, is that by using Lab 4.0 principles, we can achieve ten (10) science years output per calendar year from every one of our highly skilled scientists. This is the latest initiative in Phenotypeca’s mission to make life life-saving medicines more accessible and affordable to all that need them.”

Headline benefits of this Lab 4.0 approach include:

  • A unique consortium to reshape the way that industrial strain development is done to address global healthcare inequalities by making medicines more accessible and affordable for all.
  • Application and development of successful Industry 4.0 principles to drive positive change and innovation in the molecular biology and genetics laboratory environment.
  • Automation of workflows and processes where necessary to speed up development of commercial industrial yeast strains for recombinant proteins.
  • Once the production unit is operational in the UK, it can be replicated in the US or Singapore to provide additional capacity and geographical presence easily.
  • Scientists in Phenotypeca’s lab will be doing much more value-add activities to achieve ten science years output each calendar year once the Lab 4.0 production platform is operational.

Markus Gershater, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder at Synthace comments on the partnership: 

“Phenotypeca are world leaders in baker’s yeast and process engineering.  We’re extremely excited to see what they will deliver when this deep expertise is augmented with the power of the Synthace platform, automating their processes and lifting them into the cloud.”

Adrian La Porta, Technical Director at Bryden Wood concludes: “We are very pleased to be part of such a farsighted endeavour. Phenotypeca Lab 4.0 gives us the opportunity to bring together our skills in laboratory design, design automation, biotechnology and value analysis. Rethinking lab design in this way not only magnifies Phenotypeca’s capability to optimise yeast processes for cheaper medicines but also blazes a trail for lab design across diverse sectors.”

About Phenotypeca: Phenotypeca is a yeast Biofoundry business with the mission to make life-saving medicines more affordable and accessible to all that need them. The company owns the world’s largest collection of yeast strains engineered for industrial recombinant protein production, compromising up to a billion genetically distinct strains. Phenotypeca is currently going through a fundraising round and was recently awarded a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a project in the vaccine development space.

About Synthace: 

Synthace is a software company enabling life science, the way it should be done. Delivering a life sciences R&D cloud to scientists who want to innovate faster, the Synthace platform seamlessly automates experimentation and insight sharing so that scientists can focus on asking the most impactful questions to unlock the true potential of biology.

About Bryden Wood: 

Bryden Wood is an international integrated company of creative technologists, designers, architects, engineers and analysts. They are shaping the future of construction by bringing integrated expertise, innovation, deep experience, open minds and creativity to unravel the most complex problems and create exceptional, sustainable design solutions – all for a better built environment.

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