Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain
the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in
Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles
“Their approach is beautifully simple,” says Dhash Shrivathsa, founder and chief executive of Radix Labs. “They put into a room all the equipment needed to process and sequence the genetic material in a vial of human blood.” He’s describing a leading liquid-biopsy company that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars on the promise of early disease detection on the basis of drawing blood. Its machines are highly automated and engineered to run seamlessly — and can be painstaking to reprogram when the design of an experiment changes. The company was spending months at a time doing so. “It was like switching from one program to another on your computer without an operating system,” explains Shrivathsa.