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Laboratory automation startup Automata raises $50m

Image credit: Automata

Automata, a company that automates lab processes with software and hardware solutions, has raised $50m (£37m) in a Series B round led by Octopus Ventures.

London-based Automata said it will use the investment to develop its technology used by scientists working in diagnostic, drug discovery and biotech.

Automata provides two products: a software platform for making laboratory workflows more efficient, and a robotic arm for carrying out “highly precise” and “repeatable” tasks.

The two can also be linked to automate lab processes from start to finish, with the goal of shortening turnaround times so that scientists can spend more time conducting analysis.

Previous backers Hummingbird, Latitude Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures and Isomer Capital, as well as strategic investors such as In-Q-Tel, also provided Automata with fresh capital.

It brings the startup’s total funding to just under $60m. It most recently raised $7.4m in a Series A round in 2019.

Mostafa ElSayed, CEO of Automata, said: “For far too long scientists and clinicians have been having to work with overly complex lab solutions: equipment and software are disjointed and difficult to orchestrate, while solutions are often too rigid and inappropriate for labs with small geographic footprints. Our next-generation technology solves this.”

Last year, Automata partnered with an NHS trust to automate the process of aliquoting saliva in Covid testing and has now processed more than one million samples.

NHS pathology labs are also using Automata Labs to catch up with backlogs, with one lab running 40 fully automated stations 24/7.

Jess McCreadie, principal, healthtech at Octopus Ventures, said: “Automata’s robotic capabilities are truly the first of its kind and the company has combined this with deep expertise in automation and a highly effective business model which has created a leading-edge over competitors.”

London and New York-based Octopus Ventures has previously backed the likes of BoughtByMany, Cazoo and Depop.