Transcriptic, a biotechnology startup that’s setting out to reinvent how biological research is carried out, has raised $13.4 million in a new round of funding led by Data Collective, with participation from new investors Digital Science and WuXi AppTec. Other existing investors also contributed to the round, including AME Cloud Ventures.

Founded out of Menlo Park in 2012, Transcriptic’s SaaS-based offering serves as an automated remote lab that lets researchers conduct their experiments from their web browser and receive their results via email.

The crux of the problem that Transcriptic is trying to fix is this: Lab work can be tedious, costly, and error-prone — and many research labs actually outsource or partner with other more established research facilities to gain access to equipment that they need. This to-ing and fro-ing can cause significant delays in terms of getting results, and it can also be an expensive way to operate. Where collaboration is involved, experiments also have to be designed in tandem, meaning that the nature of an experiment has to be altered to meet the needs of the partner.

With that in mind, Transcriptic has been building a scalable, modern “science-as-a-service” platform that uses machine learning to expedite research. Scientists stipulate what they want, and Transcriptic carries out the experiment through its own in-house workcells. This essentially negates the need for researchers to buy and maintain expensive equipment, while letting them conduct experiments they’d otherwise be unable to do independently.

Transcriptic Workcell

Above: Transcriptic workcell

Transcriptic had raised around $14 million before now, and this latest round represents a continuation of its $8.5 million Series A round from early 2015. The fresh funding will be used to “drive the company’s product, team, and expansion plans,” according to a statement. The company says its services have been used by individual researchers, institutions, and larger pharmaceutical organizations.

“Since we founded Transcriptic in 2012, we have seen a significant change in how the industry thinks about lab work,” explained Max Hodak, CEO of Transcriptic. “The Transcriptic platform has freed researchers from many hours of painstaking, error-prone work and enabled them to focus where their time is most valuable. Our goal is to make life science research cheaper, faster, and more accessible, and today’s investment will enable us to deliver further innovations to make that a reality.”

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