Transcriptic Launches Platform for Life Sciences Research

Patricio Robles
Jul. 17 2014, 02:40PM EDT

Life sciences startup Transcriptic has launched the Transcriptic Platform, a "programmable, robotic biology lab built around open standards."

Using Transcriptic Platform, the company's customers can programmatically define and execute experimental protocols. Packaged services that customers can access through the Transcriptic Platform range from molecular cloning to RNA extraction. The company offers two JSON REST APIs: a high-level API that allows customers to create orders that focus on a high-level goal without defining specific processes and a low-level API that allows customers to specify the exact instructions they need used.

One of Transcriptic's goals is to minimize the time researchers and their teams spend on tedious, time-consuming laboratory tasks, allowing them to focus on the higher-value aspects of their research. While there are companies already providing contract lab services, Transcriptic offers its customers a level of sophistication and control that traditional competitors can't match. It also provides results faster and cheaper.

For researchers performing lots of projects, Transcriptic may be especially appealing. The company's infrastructure gives customers the ability to run lots of projects in parallel and, as part of its newly launched Research Partnership Program, customers that require higher volumes can perform lower-cost test runs before they scale up their processes.

Transcriptic's customers include top universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Caltech and UC Davis. Justin Siegel, an assistant professor at the UC Davis Genome Center, says, "Using Transcriptic has fundamentally changed the way we approach research, because we can rely on them to do that legwork, freeing up our students to spend more time on the creative aspects of research like design and building. These new APIs have simplified the process even more, which will ultimately help us produce even more efficient and reliable output."

Everything-as-a-Service

The Transcriptic Platform is a great example of the everything-as-a-service trend that is accelerating and, arguably, getting more exciting.

Companies like Transcriptic, for instance, have the potential to support the development of a new generation of "labless biotech" startups—startups that don't operate their own labs and thus have the ability to innovate with far less capital than would have been required even a few years ago. And companies like Transcriptic have the potential to impact a wide range of markets. The UC Davis Genome Center, for instance, has used the Transcriptic Platform on projects involving everything from cancer therapies to biofuels.

Interestingly, while some will assume that the growth as everything-as-a-service will reduce the need for people, a human touch will still be important to many everything-as-a-service providers, particularly those in complex fields like life sciences. In Transcriptic's case, customers gain efficiency by using Transcriptic's API and leveraging its infrastructure, but one of the company's value propositions is that it has a team of Ph.D. scientists and engineers who are ready to support customers as needed.

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