March 30, 2023
A startup wants to manufacture drugs in space using robots.
Microgravity might hold the key to developing novel pharmaceuticals.
With its robot-run orbital pharmaceutical lab, a business co-founded by a SpaceX veteran wants to kickstart the future of space manufacturing.
The major advantage of Varda’s strategy, according to Bloomberg in a feature of the Los Angeles-based Varda Space Industries, is that atoms and molecules behave differently under microgravity. Because of this, manufacturing in space offers a special chance to create chemicals and medications that are unavailable on Earth.
Will Bruey, co-founder and CEO of Varda, told Bloomberg that “We have invented a new technique to modify chemical processes.” “And pharmaceuticals are the most expensive chemical systems in existence. We were aware that producing them in space was microgravity’s main benefit.”
Varda’s robot lab capsule is about three feet wide at its widest point, in contrast to the human-oriented lab on board the International Space Station. Instead of producing complete industrial-sized batches in space, the goal is to create prototypes that can be returned to Earth.
The business intends to use its robots to research potential cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain remedies.
According to the story, “dozens” of additional spacecraft, including Varda’s “factory satellite,” will launch aboard a SpaceX rocket in June.
With sophisticated chemicals on board, it won’t be easy for the company’s capsules to survive the scorching reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere, thus this first launch will test their ability to do so.
Varda, though, has faith in its offering.
Delian Asparouhov, a co-founder of Varda, told Bloomberg, “We are able to do world-class chemistry.” “We are not merely aerospace bandwagons,”