A recent Technology Review article discussed a new type of drug-making lab from IBM that is helping scientists synthesize new molecules while working remotely from home. The chemistry lab is called RoboRXN, and it allows scientists to draw the skeletal structure of a molecular compound in a web browser. RoboRXN then uses machine learning to determine the ingredients required and the order they should be mixed. A robot then executes the instructions in a remote lab and results are sent to the scientists.
The technology stands to dramatically speed the lab time and costs required to bring new drugs to market. Eliminating the tedious trial and error from the development process will allow scientists to react faster to health crises like COVID-19 that require social distancing.