Lab Owl™ Propels Startups with an Agile, Affordable Bioreactor Control and Information System

Outlook Therapeutics is a successful, publicly-traded, late-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that has come a long way from its days as a startup seeking a way to bootstrap its first development lab. 

As a small, growing bioscience company with limited resources at the time, the startup needed a bioreactor automation partner and product that could deliver results and the most “bang for the buck.” Then known as Oncobiologics, Inc. (ONS), the fledgeling startup turned to Lab Owl™ for the lab automation tools it needed to launch its first development lab, which included eight, 5L autoclavable bioreactors for cell cultures. 

As ONS searched for the right lab automation product, they encountered big bioreactor automation brands that were too rigid, too inconsistent and too costly. 

At Lab Owl, our approach has always been customer-first. We build modular, flexible and cost effective bioreactor control and information systems that amplify performance by getting the most from available assets, which is ideal for startups and even growth-stage bioscience companies trying to forge ahead with shoestring budgets. 

Our bioprocessing automation and control product provides startups with tremendous flexibility, easy customization and streamlined automation that empowers a young company with efficiency, precision and tangible value. Our clients pay only for what they need and get a bioreactor control system that can grow as they do.

That’s what we delivered to ONS when they needed it most. 

“Every one of the glass bioreactors had a multitude of ancillary equipment that needed to be controlled to specifications…Lab Owl was ready, willing and able to swap out stock parts to give us what we needed….As a small biotech at the time that didn’t have limitless resources, this is an unsung benefit of working with Lab Owl… Because of who they are their pricing flexibility is better than the bigger names. They build robust and reliable systems and are a one-stop-shop for all of our bioreactor control system needs,” stated Chris Yonan, Executive Director, Outlook Therapeutics. 

Every startup faces limited human capital, tight budgets, complex science and challenging regulations. Combine these obstacles with a stalwart entrepreneurial spirit, lofty ambitions and aggressive milestones and you start to understand the conundrum faced by every bioscience startup. Essentially, startup success or failure comes down to getting the most from the resources they have until additional funding is secured. 

Lab Owl delivers the tools and responsive service startups and growth stage biotech companies need to maximize productivity, amplify accuracy, streamline process automation and aggregate data at an affordable price.     

Our team delivered a bioreactor control system for ONS that provided robust controls and features at about half the price when compared to larger, more traditional suppliers. What’s more, our bioreactor agnostic approach and open system architecture allowed ONS to cut costs by purchasing third party lab components that could be integrated and used within Lab Owl’s lab automation and control system. And we built the entire lab automation and information control system so that it could easily expand as ONS succeeded and grew. 

Lab Owl is an alternative to one-size-fits-all, expensive automation products and inefficient, resource sapping manual processes. We give startups and growth-stage companies access to a scalable, highly flexible and integrated bioreactor control system priced and built specifically for them. Our product stabilizes lab performance at a reasonable cost and can adjust and scale as an organization’s upstream processes develop over time.

If you’re a startup in need of stronger lab automation, reach out to us today. We’d love to hear more about your needs and challenges and tell you more about Lab Owl’s features that include:

Out-of-the-Box Power and Agility

  • Right out-of-the-box you get a fully integrated system including controller, operator interface, agitator motor, pumps, mass flow controllers and much more.
  • Available in benchtop, tabletop and wall-mount configurations to accommodate your specific laboratory environment or workspace
  • Lab Owl is highly scalable, making it an ideal solution for development, pilot and manufacturing environments
  • Lab Owl includes the necessary features to operate in a GMP environment including a 21 CFR Part 11 compliant audit trail
  • Lab Owl is modular and built with industry standard components so when you need more you can easily expand it to meet your lab’s needs

Set Up and Calibration

  • Easily accommodates the physical configuration of your bioreactor(s)
  • Equipment and run setups can be saved for use on future experiments or to easily configure multiple bioreactors simultaneously
  • Simple pump/tubing setup allows operation in terms of flow rate instead of RPM
  • Easy to configure service for each pump (i.e. – acid, base, nutrient feed, etc).
  • Lab Owl’s intuitive set up wizards walk you through pH and DO calibration


  • Simple configuration of control loops (Temperature, pH, DO, etc) with the ability to build sophisticated control schemes 
  • Powerful Macro Engine allows the user to easily construct time or event triggered control functionalities that enable unattended operations like set-point changes and feeds
  • Leverage advanced dissolved oxygen controls where all control devices can be sub-loops to the DO loop, with the additional ability to run multiple sub-loops simultaneously
  • Material can be charged by flow rate or by weight using the optional scale interface where feed bottles (charging by loss in weight) or vessels (charging by gain in weight) can be put on the scale

Remote Access and Notifications

  • Monitor your experiment runs whether you’re in another building on your organization’s campus, at home or in transit
  • All information in the system is available for notifications to specific individuals – easily configured by authorized users.
  • Warnings and alarms are easily configured and available as local and remote notifications
  • Notifications can be sent via email or text message

Data Collection and Reporting

  • Records data from your bioreactors and any integrated analytical instruments in a secure easy-to-search repository
  • Collects data that helps your team identify runs that are repeatable, robust, and produce just the right yield or desired outcome
  • Real-time and historical trending
  • Data can easily be exported from the Lab Owl historian in a Excel-friendly (CSV) format 
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