Mark Cuban Science

Mark Cuban Backed Transcriptic Opens up Their Science-as-a-Service API

A few days ago, while researching for our look at Mark Cuban’s investment portfolio, we came across a super interesting company. If you were to only look at Transcriptic’s investor list, it is quite clear that they are doing something big. Along with Mark Cuban, Transcriptic’s investors include: Google Ventures, 500 Startups, AME Cloud Ventures, and Founders Fund. Quite a list.

Anyhow, Transcriptic offers an incredibly unique product: Science-as-a-Service. Earlier this month, the company opened up its API, which powers the Transcriptic Platform. Rather than butchering the platform, here is how the company describes it:

Transcriptic Platform reimagines life science lab work by combining precise, machine-readable protocol contracts and a remote on-demand infrastructure accessible via a newly released API (application programming interface). This approach allows users to maintain full experimental control while remotely executing the protocols using Transcriptic’s automated lab infrastructure, effectively eliminating the time-intensive manual labor component of laboratory research…Unlike traditional lab services offered by contract research organizations (CROs), Transcriptic Platform allows for direct control of the experimental protocol by the customer, enabling far more sophisticated and dynamic applications. Transcriptic’s Common Lab Environment (TCLE) uniquely combines proven hardware, innovative new software, and the human element.1

Essentially, then, Transcriptic offers access to a remote, automated scientific lab; a sort of rapid outsourcing, if you will. This service is a very real benefit to universities and other research institutions. The great majority of labs and research facilities can not afford all of the advanced equipment that they need to conduct experiments. Therefore, there is already a heavy amount of experimental outsourcing going on. The biggest problem with this outsourcing, however, is the huge price tag. That is where Transcriptic comes in.

It’s not only that biological lab work can be boring, its also very costly. Many research labs don’t conduct their own experiments in house. Rather they partner with well endowed labs that have the equipment they need. But outsourcing to other labs means researchers might not get results for eight months and the experiment will likely cost thousands of dollars, says Hodak. What’s more, when two labs partner on research, they have to design experiments together, meaning a research group often has to change a given experiment based on the objectives of the partner lab.2

Transcriptic offers scientists a much, much needed efficiency boost. The company’s CEO, Max Hodak, noted as much in a statement: “Scientists no longer have to purchase expensive equipment or be chained to the bench to run their experiments. Transcriptic frees up researchers to focus on the creative aspects of scientific discovery that drive important medical advances and make critical discoveries possible.”3