Lab Owl® a Key Contributor to Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute’s Mission

Bioreactor Control and Information System and the Lab Owl Team Playing a Critical Role in Advancing Tissue Engineering Efficiency and Automation


The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, better known as ARMI, is a non-profit consortium of leading life science companies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and key thought leaders working to realize the vast, yet unrealized, promise of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM).

Lab Owl, an Automated Control Concepts (ACC) company, became a member of the ARMI consortium in 2019. Since that time, the Lab Owl product has been integrated into ARMI’s Tissue Foundry manufacturing process, and the Lab Owl team has made important contributions to several working groups tasked with solving some of the challenges facing tissue engineering and regenerative medicine manufacturing. These working groups include establishing ARMI’s Workforce Characteristics Charter; the Tissue Maturation and Bioreactor Charter; and the Cell Culture and Harvest Charter. 

Lab Owl’s collaboration with ARMI and its partners is helping to move the needle toward a fully automated, closed tissue manufacturing process that will reduce costs, increase safety and eventually bring more regenerative medicine products to the market.  

“Our collaboration with ARMI, and specifically with the Tissue Foundry lab, has been incredibly rewarding. Those of us involved in cell culture and bioprocessing understand that in order to get more personalized, regenerative medicines to patients, challenges surrounding scalability, automation, and run consistency have to be solved and we’re proud to be part of ARMI’s mission to accomplish this,” stated Michael Blechman, the CEO of ACC and Lab Owl.

Tissue Engineering Challenges 

The challenges for tissue engineering and personalized medicine are myriad and are encapsulated by ARMI’s use of the acronym SMAC, which means scalable, modular, automated, and closed. 

Each of these categories represents an existing bottleneck to tissue engineering and manufacturing. Founded in 2017 with the support of $80M in funding from the Department of 

Defense (DoD), ARMI/BioFabUSA is working to eliminate tissue commercialization bottlenecks by making practical the scalable, consistent, and cost-effective manufacturing of engineered tissues and tissue-related technologies. BioFabUSA’s work includes innovations across five focus areas: (1) Cell Selection, Culture, and Scale-up, (2) Biomaterial Selection and Scale-up; (3) Tissue Process Automation and Monitoring; (4) Tissue Maturing Technologies and (5) Tissue Preservation and Transport.

Regenerative medicine therapeutics are notoriously difficult to scale from smaller form factors into the larger bioreactors necessary to produce viable therapeutics. What’s more, traditional bioreactor automated control and information systems lack the modularity and flexibility to accommodate the highly specific needs of regenerative medicine manufacturing processes. A dearth of automated processes and closed-loop data capture systems lead to more labor-intensive, human error-prone, and more expensive cell culture processes that create greater risk for run failure and producing batches that won’t pass muster with regulatory agencies. 

The Tissue Foundry needed to find a bioreactor control system that could be easily integrated into its existing Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System based on Rockwell Automation infrastructure while providing the SMAC capabilities it needed to further its many ongoing tissue engineering projects. 

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Steven Surdez

Principal at StoryCore
Steve has over 20 years experience in copywriting, developing brand messaging and creating marketing strategies across a wide range of industries, including the biopharmaceutical, senior living, commercial real estate, IT and renewable energy sectors, among others. He is currently the Principal/Owner of StoryCore, a Frederick, Maryland-based content creation and execution consultancy focused on telling the unique stories of Maryland organizations.