From the editor: Being part of the innovation 

Boston

The Winter issue of the Drug Discovery World Magazine is accompanied by an exclusive DDW & SLAS2022 supplement ahead of SLAS2022 in Boston, US on 5-9 February. DDW Editor in Chief Lu Rahman comments. 

There is huge excitement within the DDW team regarding the SLAS2022 International Conference and Exhibition in Boston on 5-9 February. With Omicron throwing a spanner in the works at the time of writing, we are hopeful to make it to the in-person event, not only to meet as many of you as possible but because we recognise the importance of SLAS, this event and what it represents for our industry. 

Innovation in lab technology has always been key to the drug discovery sector but in recent years we have seen its relevance accelerate. As we explore ways to get to market faster and more efficiently, we are witnessing an increased use of automation, robotics and integrated digital technology; their benefits are rapidly becoming apparent to the drug discovery and development community. In many ways the Covid-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst for innovation as the sector examines ways to optimise processes and workflows and to avoid bottlenecks or downtime caused by lockdowns or social distancing in the workplace. Ensuring we have the infrastructure and technology to continue drug research and development is crucial and underlines why technology plays a key role in the process. There is much to be excited about, such as what AI can offer the drug discovery process –  its use within the process is continually on the rise – and we also have what is being hailed as a potential ‘revolution’ for the sector, digital twins. This a growing and exciting area to be part of and rightly so. These are just two examples among many. 

According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, there are several factors affecting the growth of the lab automation market including its adoption in pharma and R&D institutes. It estimates that the global laboratory automation market will reach $6.66 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.1%. A range of factors is contributing to this growth such as a rising older population, the miniaturisation of processes, the benefits of lab automation, progressing markets of drug discovery and diagnostics and government funding for biotech and drug discovery research. 

The biotechnology market alone offers significant potential for the lab automation sector. This field is experiencing sustained and impressive growth with markets such as India and China being particularly buoyant. In 2020, the global biotechnology market was valued at $752.88 billion and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.83% from 2021 to 2028.1

Working with SLAS on this supplement has been a great opportunity to understand more about the key role that the organisation plays in the laboratory automation field as well as the breadth of technology and innovation it contains. For me, one of the most exciting and relevant aspects of SLAS is its position as a global community across all sections of the industry from scientists and researchers to engineers, entrepreneurs and inventors. Jill Hronek, Director of Marketing and Communications at SLAS, explains more about this in her piece on page 6. This inclusive and all-encompassing environment is a no doubt part of the success of the organisation at a time when knowledge-sharing and partnerships are helping drive innovative development in the sector. It’s great to be part of that community and we’re hoping to meet as many of you as possible in person at the event! 

Volume 23, Issue 1 – Winter 2021/22 | SLAS2022 supplement 

References 

  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/biotechnology-marketdevelopment/ 

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