Eve’s predecessor – Adam – carried out genetic experiments in yeast and became the first robotic system to independently make a scientific discovery. ‘What we wanted to do with Eve was apply the same approach to something with more immediate societal values,’ says King. Eve was designed specifically for drug development and the team initially chose to focus on neglected tropical diseases.
Many parts of the process, such as high throughput library screening, are already highly automated, and Eve is kitted out with all the necessary equipment to screen tens of thousands of compounds a day and identify leads. But the system can also intelligently respond to results and create standardised assays using synthetic biology.