Robo-Lab Stocks: 3 Robotics Companies Changing the Research Game


  • Robotics are used more and more in labs as experiments require increased precision and repetition. In the future, labs may not use any human hands at all.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) provides an all-around robot along with special tools for cell culture, and sells every product to go along with them.
  • Azenta (AZTA) has brought automation to all their DNA production, alteration, and extraction workflows.
  • Waters (WAT) is a major HPLC-MS company with automation for both high-end separation chemistry and any type of pipetting you can think of.
Robo-Lab Company Stocks - Robo-Lab Stocks: 3 Robotics Companies Changing the Research Game

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Here’s a look at 3 leading robo-lab company stocks. When you think of dexterous professions, you often think of doctors or musicians. You may not think of scientists, but scientists need to be as dexterous as they come. Science requires consistency, and that in turn requires incredible precision with samples and data. In the life sciences, we often work on the scale of microliters, which is 1 5-thousandth the volume of a teaspoon. And a difference of 1 microliter can mean the difference between a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery and just another failed experiment.

Handling and moving volumes that small requires a lot of manual dexterity. Yet scientists aren’t selected for dexterity; there’s no hands-on test to get into a PhD program. And for many of us, being incredibly precise all day, everyday is a tall and perhaps impossible order. Consistency can also be hard to keep up after a long day of repetitive motion.

But that’s where robotics are changing the research game. The best labs of today are already equipped with robotic systems to dispense reagents precisely, at exact volumes, over and over again. In the labs of tomorrow, it’s likely every process will be automated this way. These robots are tireless, consistent, and have far greater precision than any human could. That makes them a huge productivity multiplier, and makes ever more sensitive experiments possible.

The leading robo-lab companies are among the biggest in the industry. It’s no secret that robots are the future, and thus the future of research robotics is bright. And when these robots take over the lab, as they once took over the assembly line, these robo-lab company stocks will stand to benefit the most.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO)

A Thermo Fisher Scientific sign out front of an office in Silicon Valley, California.
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Thermo Fisher (NYSE:TMO) is the proverbial 600 pound gorilla of biotechnology and laboratory supplies. Their comprehensive range of products and services spans every facet of laboratory science. From cutting-edge machines to essential reagents, nearly every lab buys Thermo Fisher products. So it’s no surprise that they’re also one of the biggest suppliers of lab robots and among the leading robo-lab company stocks.

One of the standout innovations in Thermo Fisher’s impressive arsenal is the F7 robot system. The F7 combines the robust performance of an industrial robot with the precision needed in a lab. This robot enables the seamless execution of numerous manual tasks. That enhances efficiency and frees up researchers to focus on more intellectual aspects of their work. Thermo Fisher offers a number of robotic tools, but the F7 is just one example of how wide-ranging these tools can go. It can do so many of the hand movements a researcher can do.

Furthermore, Thermo Fisher is bringing automation to cell culture systems. Growing human cells in a lab to test drugs and procedures is a critical component in biological research and drug discovery. Automating this process eliminates much of the tedious labor involved, streamlining workflows and reducing human error.

With Thermo Fisher providing robotic sample handling systems for any occasion, they magnify their strengths. Their extensive product portfolio covers nearly everything a lab could ever buy. And so Thermo Fisher can tailor their robots and products to work very well together. That ensures that when you want a Thermo Fisher robot, you’ll likely buy Thermo Fisher products to go with it.

Automation has been the future ever since the industrial revolution, and now it’s coming to labs. Thermo Fisher promises to be on the crest of that wave as a leading robo-lab company.

Azenta (AZTA)

scientist wearing virtual reality headset interacts with futuristic holographic interface showing neurological data
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Azenta (NASDAQ:AZTA) is a laboratory and clinical diagnostic that is bringing the robo-revolution to both businesses. They have developed a diverse array of cutting-edge automation tools to increase accuracy, reproducibility, and precision.

At the heart of Azenta’s offerings is their prowess in automating sample and liquid handling. Their systems streamline workflows and enhance efficiency while minimizing human error. In critical experiments, that adds up. Whether it’s sample sorting, precise pipetting, or sample preparation for analysis, Azenta has tools for every occasion. Moreover, Azenta’s robotic workstations cater to a wide spectrum of laboratory procedures. From DNA extraction to polymerase chain reaction, Azenta is making sure that their robots also serve their core business, which is also heavily DNA focused.

Azenta’s Q3 2023 earnings report shows growing revenue, but also growing costs. Revenue increased year-on-year from $133 million to $166. But operating loss went from $5 million to $16 million over the same time period. Still, that has not deterred Azenta from continuing its share buyback program this year. They had repurchased $764 million by August 8th, and aim to purchase $1 billion by the end of 2023. While Azenta isn’t becoming more profitable yet, their growing revenue is cause for celebration if they can bring down costs alongside it.

The bottom line is that Azenta is a powerful robo-lab stock catering to DNA applications. And since DNA is a necessary ingredient in every aspect of biotechnology, Azenta has great potential as the entire industry grows.

Waters (WAT)

quantification of the sample by gas mass chromatography
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Waters (NYSE:WAT) is a leader among robo-lab company stocks. It has long been a major player in analytical chemistry and separation techniques. They have been pushing the boundaries of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS) for decades. Now they’re adding more and more automation to the mix.

HPLC-MS experiments can require long bouts of waiting around, watching a line getting drawn on a graph. When that line spikes in a certain direction up, you need to quickly move to catch the liquid coming out of the machine. This kind of grunt work has long been the domain of undergraduates and junior lab members. But it is being quickly automated by Waters’ technology. These latest Waters systems can perform every aspect of an HPLC-MS experiment. Injecting the sample, retrieving what comes out, and processing the data of the experiment, can now all be done without the help of a human.

In addition to their HPLC-MS robots, Waters also has a robotic pipette on offer. Pipettes are the tools used to accurately add or remove very precise volumes of liquid. And the Waters system, called Andrew, allows a number of pipette-based assays to now be done entirely robotically. In all, Waters is quickly making it so that researchers no longer even have to be inside the lab to complete their experiments, as these systems can be controlled entirely remotely.

Waters’ Q2 2023 earnings report shows revenue and costs mostly stable. Net sales increased slightly year-on-year from $1.40 to $1.43 billion, while net income decreased slightly from $325 to $291 million. But their products are making it possible to bring robotics to every experiment a life scientist can do. And that makes them one of the most exciting robo-lab stocks to buy.

On the date of publication, John Blankenhorn did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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