The escalating cost of discovering new biopharmaceutical therapies is a well- known and long-standing problem. Recent estimates by the Tufts Center for the Study
of Drug Development put the cost of developing
and getting approval for a new drug just shy of $3
The underlying buildup of costs, causes of
inflation, and ultimate accuracy of the total price
tag for a new molecular entity are subjects of
ongoing discussion and debate, but the fact that
directionally costs continue to grow is generally
accepted as fact.
Something less widely known and appreciated
is that many of the biopharmaceutical companies
working to develop new therapies are some of the
most sophisticated and progressive adopters of
robotics and automation technology.
A number of the biggest, most acclaimed
biopharmaceutical companies in the world have
been rigorously committed to using technology to
advance productivity and thus contain discovery
costs for some time. While costs ultimately
have been growing, it is hard to imagine how
much more they might have grown without the
substantial commitment discovery organizations
have made to robotics and automation.
Laboratory robotics and automation drive value
in a few fundamental ways, but typically not in the
ways most people initially imagine.
Running samples by hand has a potential output of around
30-40 per day, whereas robotic systems can approach output in
the hundreds of thousands per day.
By Peter Harris, HighRes Biosolutions
Using Robotics and
to Control Drug