To minimize their upfront cost, most startups set up a virtual company and outsource to CROs. However, these virtual companies face tremendous challenges if they do not have a physical lab to integrate all of their projects, including logistics, communication, and management EHS.
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ATLATL’s “Cloud Biolabs” R&D Assembly Line (Photo: Business Wire)
Recently, ATLATL Innovation Center (Shanghai) launched “cloud biolabs”, which allow scientists to execute their experiments without being physically present in a lab. ATLATL Center allocates each company or scientist a private minilab and project managers to lead the projects. The minimum lab size is about 200 sqft, but it can be unprecedentedly powerful by plugging into a 50,000 sqft core lab. With the support of project managers, scientists can orchestrate multiple simultaneous projects while sitting comfortably at their computer anywhere in the world.
“I did this while I was in Boston,” said Dr. P.C. Zhu, the founder of ATLATL Center, who founded his first CRO company and shared innovation lab in Kendall Square. “When I was in Boston, I hired a scientist to work for me in a Shanghai-based incubator. They then outsourced partial experiments to local CROs, executing some in-house if needed.” This strategy was cost-saving and helped Dr. Zhu manage projects more effectively with the CROs. Most multinationals have done the same thing, and their teams in America work closely with teams in Shanghai.
After founding ATLATL Center in Shanghai, Dr. Zhu optimized this approach. To conduct research more effectively, ATLATL set up R&D assembly lines based on its on-site CRO giants. Co-location CRO services reduce the failure rate of management, communication, and logistics. ATLATL’s project directors execute projects on behalf of companies around the world by integrating the CRO modules into the private labs.
“ATLTL’s cloud biolabs can deliver jobs more efficiently than traditional CROs,” said Dr. Zhu. “Talented scientists don’t set-up infrastructure or build-up a fully functional team, and many leading CROs and instrumentation companies already joined ATLATL years ago.”
ATLATL began to run experiments-on-demand last year and has served many R&D teams in Boston and London. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Western companies have started to try this model. Dr. Zhu is confident in what has been built. “We believe our creative cloud biolab will provide a necessary service to the scientists.”
[“Atlatl” is a Nahuatl word that means “spear thrower”, which enabled ancient hunters to throw farther and faster, eventually generating greater returns. ATLATL is innovation’s spear thrower — to facilitate innovators’ growth and enhance their ability to reach milestones faster than ever.]