Robotics In Life Science — A Hidden Gem For Startups (Half 1 of two)


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Tau Ventures focuses on AI investments in healthcare and enterprise, however we’re additionally fascinated by automation and really often spend money on that area. Living proof Elemental Machines which gives Lab as a Service (LaaS) — off-the-shelf sensors measuring environmental metrics like temperature, stress and movement to supply medication and meals at top quality. One space of specific curiosity for us is how robotics is taking part in an rising function in life sciences.

1) Excessive Development Potential

Robotic know-how in life sciences will be particular to widespread pipetting volumes achieved in analysis labs at educational establishments and a variety of business R&D departments. Within the pandemic and post-pandemic world, it turns into extra obvious, for instance, that such robotic know-how has necessary use-cases in our world. Particularly, they’d permit analysis for smaller, extra nimble biotech firms and even analysis teams to supply or experiment with vaccines at a sooner, extra constant charge to equalize the taking part in discipline towards teams at bigger prescribed drugs utilizing mass-producing pipetting machineries.  

The CAGR for pharmaceutical robotics methods was 13.2% from 2016 – 2021 and is predicted to be 7.2% YoY from 2021 to 2022. This means a number of factors: 

  • COVID-19 has uncovered ache factors in drug growth/analysis growth verticals; many will be solved via robotic automation.
  • Constant pre-pandemic CAGR strongly implies robustness even in market post-pandemic.
  • There’s a giant use case for robotics within the life science business.

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Our total view: it is a largely untapped market ripe for brand spanking new applied sciences to thrive in. 

2) Fundraising Is Up

The robotics market is often directed in the direction of giant industrial producers and equipment. However entities equivalent to establishments and firms that conduct any and all scientific analysis that require pipetting, which captures a lot of the life science business, have been overlooked. 

A few of the driving forces of market development on this space is that top throughput and low price diagnostics have gotten extra valued attributable to rising consciousness and want from the pandemic and doubtlessly future infectious illness. Conferences and exhibitions, in addition to excessive profile startups with robotics methods in pharmaceutical manufacturing, are beginning to get title recognition.

Living proof, under are some main rounds only in the near past: 

  • Synthego – allows entry to CRISPR, $200M collection E, introduced Feb 2022
  • DNAnexus – managing DNA sequence knowledge, $200M collection H, introduced Mar 2022
  • Creyon Bio – drug growth utilizing data-first method, $40M collection A, introduced Mar 2022
  • Octant Bio – instruments + AI to engineer small molecules, $80M collection B, introduced Apr 2022

Based on Grand View Analysis, the market dimension of life sciences within the US in 2021 was $106B, which makes robotic life sciences potential market dimension at $2.1 – 6.3B assuming a 2-6% market penetration. Our total view: Dx/Instruments are main the fundraising, creating additional alternatives. 

3) Rising Incumbents

Traditionally robotics in life sciences has been an extension of huge conglomerates, equivalent to Kawasaki Heavy Industries, KUKA AG, Mitsubishi Electrical Company. Nevertheless, there are only a few firms focusing on smaller scale automation with versatile and bespoke protocols versus fastened giant scale pharma manufacturing. Which is the place startups are maturing into the brand new set of incumbents:

Opentrons Perrone Robotics Boston Dynamics Energid Applied sciences
Workers 317 34 240 30
Whole Raised / Backing $256M from VCs $13M from VCs Alphabet -> Softbank -> Hyundai Acquired by Teradyne in 2018
Publish Valuation $1.8B $25M $1.1B $28M
Description Open-source lab automation robots designed to automate processes. Retrofit kits supposed for use within the native transit of individuals and items for autonomous autos. Robots specializing in constructing dynamic robots and software program for human simulation. Actual-time movement management software program to satisfy the necessities of business, business, collaborative and shopper robotic methods.
*knowledge from PitchBook

At the moment we see a sparsity of opponents. Opentrons, for example, appears for its closest comps in different industries equivalent to autonomous autos or movement management infrastructure. Extra on this within the subsequent article. Our total view: we’re hitting the inflection level of recent gamers beginning to set up themselves, with far more forward.


Observe from Amit Garg: Major writer for this text is Sharon Huang. Initially revealed on “Knowledge Pushed Investor,” am glad to syndicate on different platforms. I’m the with 20 years in Silicon Valley throughout corporates, personal startup, and VC funds. These are purposely brief articles targeted on sensible insights (I name it gl;dr — good size; did learn). Lots of my writings are at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amgarg/element/recent-activity/posts and I’d be stoked in the event that they get individuals sufficient in a subject to discover in additional depth. If this text had helpful insights for you remark away and/or give a like on the article and on the Tau Ventures’ LinkedIn web page, with due thanks for supporting our work. All opinions expressed listed here are my very own.

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