The article was prepared in collaboration with TechBBQ.
Hand-held stopwatches and manual notes on a pad of paper formed the backbone of the modern laboratory Malthe Muff visited during his training as a production engineer. And it surprised him, to say the least.
“I was completely stunned by how low the level of digitalisation was. And we’re talking PhDs in well-funded companies – so why was it all done manually?” he asked himself.
Wondering, he investigated further and found that no one had really taken the lead on digitising labs by connecting equipment to the cloud. So, together with Anders Lund and Matteo Fumagalli, he thought: “We can do that”.
Today, that has become the startup Inniti, which helps labs in chemistry, food and biotech connect their equipment to the startup’s platform.
“Today, a lot of time is spent in the lab doing manual and repetitive work – both in terms of data collection, processing and analysis. We solve this by connecting the equipment to the cloud, while enabling automation of the experiments themselves,” says Malthe Muff, CEO and co-founder of Inniti.
Fact: “Bridging the Gap
- The project “Bridging the Gap – A more connected life science ecosystem” aims to establish networks and linkages across the life science sector (between biotech, medtech, healthtech and welfaretech etc.). At the same time, the project aims to connect the life science sector with the rest of the entrepreneurial community in Denmark and the Nordic region.
- TechBBQ acts as a facilitator and catalyst in establishing networks where everyone is closer to each other and can benefit from each other’s knowledge.
- The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
- Read more and see the ecosystem mapping here: https://techbbq.dk/bridging-the-gap/
Digitalisation empowers researchers
Today, Inniti can help labs perform experiments automatically, before uploading data and results for analysis in the cloud. The aim is to eventually create an autonomous lab where experiments also become self-optimising based on the data being collected.
“Labs are driven by science and data, but it’s not digitised or standardised, but instead spread out over excel sheets on a shared drive. This makes it difficult to use technologies like machine learning because the data quality is not high enough. And that’s really what we see as the end goal of integrating the equipment,” says Malthe Muff.
Inniti wants to expand the potential for individual researchers by giving them access to monitor and control the lab equipment directly from their own computer. At the same time, the software allows researchers to design new experiments from an easily accessible interface that does not require them to know how to code.
“This allows us to help accelerate product development significantly, while also enabling our customers to increase the quality of their products by standardising processes much earlier than they have been used to,” says Malthe Muff.
The platform from Inniti integrates with equipment across manufacturers, allowing the lab to collect data regardless of which equipment vendor they use. At the same time, the platform openly delivers data to the lab’s existing systems.
The potential is still great
What started as a university project in 2017 has today become a burgeoning company with 20 employees, laboratories on the customer list and equipment manufacturers as partners. And while the startup has seen a marked shift towards more digitalisation in the four years it has been running, the founder still believes there is untapped potential.
“I think the prospects are huge. Once you connect analytics to the cloud, there are close to no limits. It’s about increasing the analytics part of our platform, and also making it more accessible for researchers to use data effectively. We want to be the core of the ecosystem for Lab 4.0 by connecting all equipment independently of the manufacturer and integrating with the existing software solutions in the lab,” says Malthe Muff and continues,
“It’s a bit of a conservative industry, but we’re actually meeting an incredible willingness to be part of the digital journey from both customers and partners. Our approach is about process optimisation and how we bring Industry 4.0 into the labs. We’re going to see a fusion between traditional tech and life science, because the tools that come from tech can create huge value in the life science industries.
Q&A: Bobby Soni, Chief Business Officer – BioInnovation Institute
– Why should life science startups mix more with tech startups from other industries?
“Instead of looking at what the different life science branches can learn from each other, it’s more interesting to me to look at what life science can learn from tech. And the tech mindset we see more and more rubbing off on the life science industry.
The tech mindset is about starting small, taking chances, failing while moving forward and iterating – which is different in many ways from the classic mindset in life science. Life science is very expensive to develop, so you put a lot of money into a few projects with experienced teams and see what happens. But with a small investment – as is the case in tech startups – life science can actually get very far before raising more money. And that makes it possible to fund many more projects early on.
That’s the mindset we use at BII to support the life science industry. We believe that early research can make a huge difference if it’s incubated right. And the Novo Foundation has funded us to test that thesis.”
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