Augmenting Lab Efficiency with Automation

At Synthace we have built Antha, a user-friendly yet hugely powerful software platform that gives biologists flexible and integrated control over their lab hardware.

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Aug 12, 2019

Antha is a cloud-based operating system that augments the biologists’ skill by taking the hard work out of completing experimentation by hand, or programming clunky, unsophisticated laboratory hardware. Antha’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface enables biologists to design, simulate, execute, analyse and repeat complex multifactorial experiments on multiple devices, easily, and with zero coding required.

The multiple benefits of using Antha in your lab ultimately add up to large-scale improvements in efficiency. For example:

  • Drag and drop platform elements facilitate scale up of complex experiments whilst maintaining oversight.
  • The easy-to-use interface removes the need to spend hours encoding instructions to get your lab robots to perform tasks. Enabling the scientist to perform complex multifactorial experiments that would be difficult or impossible to perform manually (see below).
  • Experiments can be simulated up front in silico to check they will run as intended, spotting errors and preventing wastage before running the experiment.
  • Antha is device agnostic. Translating workflows between different devices improves the reproducibility of your experiments.

Overall data shows that, compared to a typical manual experimental process, Antha provides a 70% reduction in full time equivalent (FTE) hours.

Flexible automation improves efficiency of sophisticated experiments

Oxford Biomedica recently employed Antha in their R&D labs to improve the efficiency and robustness of their lentiviral vector production through optimization of their transfection reagent mixes. They used Antha to automate a complex multifactorial experimental approach that would have been impossible to undertake manually within time constraints.

Using Antha resulted in up to 40 hours’ time saving on experimental planning and execution (Figure 1). Also, the initial optimization results identified transfection conditions in which between a 3 to 10-fold increase in vector titre was achieved upon transduction. Finally, Antha provided an 81% reduction in pure error, indicating a more robust process.

Figure 1. Time saving and design complexity gains provided by Antha. Left: Antha provides up to a 98% time saving on design and planning for DoEs (Design of Experiments, or Multifactorial experimentation) when compared to other automated liquid handling platform software, whilst also providing the ability to execute complex designs beyond the capability of manual execution within the timeframe. Right: With Antha, programming automated liquid handling platforms for high complexity experimentation reduces the time burden of alternative solutions without compromising on complexity.

Device agnostic drag-and-drop control

Antha’s high-level, intuitive language makes it easy for biologists to perform complex experiments they simply cannot do manually.

Figure 2. Antha dashboard. Antha delivers end to end integration.

Antha is device agnostic, meaning it works with multiple equipment manufacturers’ robots. This removes the significant hurdle of learning to program different devices in the lab to perform your experiments. It also allows experimental protocols to be translated between different devices. Choose the device you want to run your experiment on, which plates and tips you need to use to perform it and customize a host of other options in the dashboard (Figure 2).   

Use the drag-and-drop design environment to map out your liquid handling steps (Figure 3) then simulate the experiment in silico to confirm it will run as expected.

Figure 3. Workflow editor. A unique drag and drop design environment rapidly reduces the time to insight.

The final step is to run the experimental command file generated by Antha to execute your experiment, and take advantage of walk-away time while your hardware does the hard work.

Implementation is easy and online

Antha is a cloud-based operating system that enables users to work from anywhere. You can plan and simulate your experiment remotely and execute via the Antha Hub which is connected to your lab robot. Data from the experimental run is then fed back to Antha from the hub for users to interpret. Furthermore, data and workflows can be shared between users in your organisation, further improving experimental reproducibility and business efficiency (Figure 4). 

Figure 4. Cloud-based Antha enables automation from anywhere. Cloud-based Antha enables users to work remotely to plan, simulate, execute, analyse and repeat experiments from anywhere.

Evolving your lab’s automation with Antha is a great way to augment the skills of your lab scientists allowing you to scale up your experimental output, whilst also improving reproducibility.

To learn how Antha could enhance your lab’s efficiency, and to unleash the full potential of your lab hardware, visit our website

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