In the spring of 2020, LabHelp and Flow Robotics ventured into a distribution collaboration. This coincided with large parts of the world being under lock-down. And so, Flow Robotics and LabHelp started their journey towards establishing flowbot® ONE as an essential player on the market in the Netherlands as well as an important tool for fighting COVID-19.
“Flexibility in both hardware and software set the flowbot apart from similar products. We are a middleware company, so we make software that interacts with different devices in the molecular lab. And a pipetting robot, like the flowbot® ONE, is an essential part of that,” says Managing Director Jeroen Poodt from LabHelp.
Establishing synergy and connection
“One of my favorite parts of our collaboration is the openness of the team. Everybody is very social and looking to move things to an even higher level. Our partnership is marked by a mutual engagement so we can develop it together,” he adds.
As a distributor, LabHelp wants to be in between the end-user and the production company. They aim to push the flowbot® ONE towards the customers, but they also want to learn from the customers and push that information back to Flow Robotics and adapt the system.
“It is crucial for a young company like us to stay very close to our customers and to constantly learn,” says CEO Annika Isaksson from Flow Robotics.
Looking towards the future
One of the questions on many people’s lips right now is, how much need there is for pipetting robots after COVID-19. Jeroen Poodt has a clear opinion on that;
“Even after COVID-19 we will sell robots because the flowbot® ONE is affordable and very usable for the small to medium size labs for PCR setup, sample transfer and ELISA. Not every robot can interact with external devices which is often needed in labs. The flowbot is one of the systems that can hold devices such as a heating block, a cooling block and a magnetic deck, which makes it desirable,” he says.
Jeroen Poodt predicts that Next Generation Sequencing will be the next big thing for pipetting robots. It is a technique with a lot of manual pipetting steps, such as washing magnetic beads several times and putting them in a magnetic stand. These are all steps that can be automated by the flowbot® ONE.
He also has a clear vision on how to take the relationship to the next level:
“We are currently working with Flow Robotics on how to fine tune the software to fit the exact needs of the end users and develop protocols for providing the right service,” concludes Managing Director Jeroen Poodt, and predicts a bright future for the flowbot® ONE.
Read more about LabHelp here