• The Francis Crick's Advanced Sequencing Facility Partners for Genomics Automation

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The Francis Crick's Advanced Sequencing Facility Partners for Genomics Automation

Feb 14 2023

The Francis Crick Institute's Advanced Sequencing Facility has partnered with Automata to integrate automation in genomics sample preparation. The partnership is based on the premise that automation can unlock a step change in the potential of genomics labs. Genomics sample preparation workflows are ideally suited for automation given the need for robustness and scalability, and together, the teams are automating three workflows to decrease manual touchpoints, increase throughput and optimise R&D flexibility.

The integration of automation will support the Crick’s cutting-edge advanced genomics laboratory with greater walkaway time, R&D flexibility, and data quality than ever before. In close collaboration, the teams have already completed two walkaway workflows, with a further workflow in progress. These workflows use the first version of Automata’s lab bench solution, made up of four laboratory instruments, six benches, and four robots.

Jerome Nicod, Head of the Advanced Sequencing Facility at the Francis Crick Institute commented: “At the ASF, we believe integrated automation is the path forwards in the field of genomics, and the results we have been seeing so far from the Automata platform support this. The major benefit of our walkaway workflows is the ability to prepare samples and generate data rapidly, accelerating the pace of discoveries at the Crick. This includes the validation of CRISPR genome editing, the extraction of genetic material from fixed tumour samples for cancer research and genomic surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The partnership with The Francis Crick Institute is an example of how open, integrated automation solutions have the power to help laboratories scale. Benchtops can be physically and digitally connected such that entire workflows become seamless automated processes, with built-in versatility to build and edit multiple different workflows. Platforms can be made to be collaborative - able to work alongside humans - and to interact with the present range of equipment in a laboratory. This next-gen R&D partnership is a significant step towards the future of integrated automation for genomics.