Opentrons Raises $200M Series C Funding for Lab Automation, Led by SoftBank

The company plans to use its latest financing to scale its robotic platform for life sciences and healthcare.


The OT-2 laboratory automation has been used in COVID-19 testing.
Opentrons Labworks, whose subsidiaries apply AI and robotics to different parts of the life sciences and healthcare markets, will use its funding for more diagnostic tools.

Opentrons Labworks Inc. today said it has obtained $200 million in Series C funding. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company, which has supplied equipment for COVID-19 testing, plans to use its latest investment to distribute its automated lab platform globally.

“Biology opens the door to solve many of humanity’s grand challenges,” said Jon Brennan-Badal, CEO of Opentrons. “For far too long, scientists and clinicians have been locked-in by slow, expensive, and overly complex lab solutions that underpin their work.”

“Opentrons’ platform provides the key to unlock their potential,” he added. “We are enabling more R&D, more testing, more biology to unleash innovation in life sciences and healthcare.”

Opentrons products and units

Opentrons said it integrates robotics, assays, and operations to create high-quality and cost-effective laboratory automation. The company has several subsidiaries that serve different life science and healthcare markets.

Opentrons Robotics is an industry leader in flexible, user-friendly lab automation, said Opentrons Labworks. It flagship product, the OT-2, can be found in thousands of research and development labs for life sciences in more than 40 countries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, OT-2 robots were deployed to hospital labs around the world to test millions of patient samples.

Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) uses the Opentrons platform to provide affordable and high-throughput molecular diagnostic testing. Hospitals and healthcare systems used these lab services for over 4.5 million patient tests across the U.S. in the past year.

Opentrons acquired Neochromosome (Neo) in March 2021. Neo uses the Opentrons platform to create genome-scale cell engineering solutions for therapeutics. The company said its biofoundry is “uniquely capable of synthesizing genome-scale DNA constructs at unprecedented throughput.”

In addition, Opentrons acquired Zenith AI in June. Zenith AI brings proprietary, no-code artificial intelligence and machine learning to the Opentrons platform. The unit said it is creating “transformative solutions” for the discovery, development, and biomanufacturing of therapeutics.

Investors look to accelerate commercialization

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led Opentrons' Series C investment, with participation by Khosla Ventures. SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) is a segment of SoftBank Group, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. SBIA is manager of the Vision Funds, which seek to accelerate the AI revolution through investments in market-leading businesses.

“Opentrons is building a disruptive automated lab platform that is aiming to transform healthcare and life sciences with a vertically integrated, low-cost solution,” said Angela Du, investment director at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The company has an extremely high-value proposition in the lab diagnostics and synthetic genomics markets, where its robotics and consumables serve as foundational components today.”

“We look forward to partnering with CEO Jonathan Brennan-Badal to help the company accelerate growth and commercialize new offerings,” she said. SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) is a segment of SoftBank Group in Tokyo. SBIA is manager of the Vision Funds, which seek to accelerate the AI revolution through investments in market-leading businesses.

Other investors in Opentrons included Sands Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, SOSV, and Y Combinator.

Opentrons said it will use this fundraising round to support development of new robotic tools, an expanded biofoundry, new diagnostic tests, and additional diagnostic labs. The company said these initiatives will enable better, more affordable solutions for its customers.

View the Opentrons OT-2 liquid handling robot as it performs many liquid handling functions, including aspirate, drop tip, touch tip, air gap, consolidate, pause, delay, and more.

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The OT-2 laboratory automation has been used in COVID-19 testing.

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