Sunnyvale, CA — July 31, 2012 — Labcyte has announced that The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has implemented its Access workstation to automate the production of low‐volume, assay‐ready microplates from high‐throughput screening and fragment libraries for biochemical, cell‐based, and biophysical screening.
The Access workstation incorporates the Labcyte Echo® liquid handler— a revolutionary platform using acoustic liquid transfer in a compact robotic plate‐handling system to enable walk‐away production of low‐volume, assay‐ready plates. Since the Echo liquid handler does not require the use of pipette tips, pin tools or nozzles it provides unsurpassed precision and accuracy. With a range of device options and accessories, the Access workstation can adapt to the ever‐changing needs of assays in genomics, proteomics, drug discovery and more.
To identify drug candidates, researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research in London screen large compound libraries and fragment libraries through biochemical and/or cell‐based assays. The ability of the Echo liquid handler to build dose‐response curves from the direct‐transfer stock samples at high concentrations eliminates the propagation of error typically seen with methods requiring stocks to be aqueous and/or serially diluted beforehand. Lower assay volume makes the effort required to transition to higher‐density 384‐ and 1536‐well formats significantly easier. Taking the steps towards miniaturization was a key part of improving screening efficiency at the ICR.
“The Access workstation is used to cherry pick directly from high‐concentration stocks for confirmation and IC50 determination, without requiring any aqueous dilution,” says Dr. Rosemary Burke, senior staff scientist leading the assay group at the ICR. “Additionally, acoustic dispensing directly into cell plates allowed us to move from time‐consuming 96‐well cell proliferation assays to 384‐well assays.”
Beyond the initial step of miniaturizing primary screens of their compound libraries, the ICR has used the Access workstation in the development and miniaturization of biophysical assays with complex reagent mixtures. Depending on the project, the hits from primary biochemical and/or cell‐based screens are further investigated in biophysical assays before elucidation of their binding mode using X‐ray crystallography. Researchers at the ICR use the Access workstation to automate experiments exploring a range of assay conditions in efforts to lower reagent consumption.
Dr. Rob van Montfort, leader of the hit discovery and structural design team, adds: “For example, we have already used the Echo liquid handler and Access workstation to explore multiple buffer conditions to miniaturize protein thermal‐shift assays.”
“Our technology has significantly improved the efficiency of screening efforts in the pharmaceutical industry,” says Mark Fischer‐Colbrie, CEO and president of Labcyte. “The Echo liquid handler has evolved from a tool for reducing sample consumption in high‐throughput screening to a platform essential for developing and optimizing a wide range of assays with the highest efficiency and quality. We are pleased to see the ICR accelerating progress in cancer research by extending the utilization of our product offerings.”
About The Institute of Cancer Research
The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes. Scientists and clinicians at the ICR are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and ‘bench‐to‐bedside’ approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organizations are rated in the top four cancer centers globally. The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at isolating cancer‐related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalized cancer treatment. As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organizations, charities and the general public. The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit www.icr.ac.uk
Labcyte, a global life science instrumentation company, is revolutionizing liquid handling. Echo liquid handling systems use sound to precisely transfer liquids. The environmentally‐friendly Echo platform generates better results with significantly lower costs when compared to traditional liquid handling systems that have high running costs, are prone to transfer errors, risk sample contamination and waste large amounts of plastic lab consumables. Labcyte instruments are used worldwide by all of the top ten pharmaceutical companies, as well as by small to mid‐size pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, contract research organizations and academic institutions. Our customers work across a wide spectrum of biology including drug discovery, genomics, proteomics, diagnostics, imaging mass spectrometry andlive cell transfer. Labcyte, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, has global sales and support. Labcyte has 46 U.S., 10 European, 5 Japanese and 1 Chinese patents with additional U.S. and international filings. For more information, visit www.labcyte.com.