laboratory automation exists, but lab personnel are still needed for configuration. The search for true automation has MIT researchers investigating the efficacy of using AI guided robotic automation. The ultimate goal is to combine with flow chemistry and reduce the need for human intervention in the synthesis of small molecules. Their paper appeared in the August 9, 2019 issue of Science.
According to Justin Lummiss, Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, "One of the major challenges in automating small molecule synthesis is the diversity of organic reactions and the difficulty in finding compatible reaction conditions to support multistep synthesis. Additionally, creating a system capable of supporting the range of reaction conditions in terms of temperatures, pressures, and chemical compatibilities poses a serious engineering challenge."
Their team has made tremendous strides and is extremely optimistic of the fusion of AI guided systems in the small molecule space. Additionally, peptide manufacturing for therapeutic application is already underway as Lummiss, Thomas and their team continue to push AI-driven platforms.