Microsoft launches a new platform for programming biology

Date: 12th March 2019

The digitalisation of science is gathering momentum, incorporation of the IoT, the cloud and machine learning is rapidly advancing many fields including synthetic biology. As such multinational technology companies are keen to grab a piece of the action and exploit their own expertise.

In this effort Microsoft has teamed up with Oxford Biomedica, Princetown University and Synthace releasing Station B, a platform aimed to improve all phases of the Design-Build-Test-Learn workflow typically used for programming biological systems.  Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, houses their first molecular biology lab which has developed the platform that runs on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. Synthace, a London based biological software company, provide their Antha software which allows automation of lab hardware and digitalisation of associated data. Whilst Oxford Biomedica will develop in silico models and novel algorithms utilising their knowledge in gene and cell therapy.  The partnership with Princetown University will develop Platform B to study the formation of biofilms, these adherent bacterial colonies, cause many infectious diseases and cancer and are often tolerant to antibiotics.

In silico modelling of biological processes by Station B offers the scientist a power tool for obtaining quick, reliable results without extensive laboratory testing of every hypothesis.  The power of connectivity and automation allows sharing of ideas, optimisation, reproducibility and streamlining of processes.  Together a power tool for the future researcher.  We will be keeping a close eye on their progress…