Labcyte Receives 23rd and 24th Patents for Acoustic Droplet Ejection

Labcyte Inc. has received U.S. Patent 6,938,995 and 6,938,987 its 23rd and 24th patents. These patents further define aspects of the ejection device. The 23rd patent covers the repositioning and refocusing of the transducer to ensure that fluid is efficiently ejected from a plurality of reservoirs, i.e., the wells of a microplate even when the volumes of the reservoirs differ. Richard Ellson, CTO and one of the authors of this patent notes, “This invention is useful in a number of contexts, particularly in the preparation of cherry-picked, multi-well plates and biomolecular arrays. It eliminates the need to have the volume of every well identical as well as the need for the contents to be the same. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), the fluid of choice in many high-throughput screening applications, absorbs water very quickly from the atmosphere. The volumes and compositions of the wells change as soon as they are exposed to the laboratory environment. By repositioning the transducer and refocusing the acoustic energy we provide a tremendous increase in flexibility. The ejection device compensates for decreases in volume between wells caused by cherry-picking or evaporation as well as increases in volume due to hydration of wells.”

September 13, 2005
Sunnyvale, CA
Sunnyvale, CA, September 13, 2005 – Labcyte Inc. has received U.S. Patent 6,938,995 and 6,938,987 its 23rd and 24th patents. These patents further define aspects of the ejection device. The 23rd patent covers the repositioning and refocusing of the transducer to ensure that fluid is efficiently ejected from a plurality of reservoirs, i.e., the wells of a microplate even when the volumes of the reservoirs differ. Richard Ellson, CTO and one of the authors of this patent notes, “This invention is useful in a number of contexts, particularly in the preparation of cherry-picked, multi-well plates and biomolecular arrays. It eliminates the need to have the volume of every well identical as well as the need for the contents to be the same. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), the fluid of choice in many high-throughput screening applications, absorbs water very quickly from the atmosphere. The volumes and compositions of the wells change as soon as they are exposed to the laboratory environment. By repositioning the transducer and refocusing the acoustic energy we provide a tremendous increase in flexibility. The ejection device compensates for decreases in volume between wells caused by cherry-picking or evaporation as well as increases in volume due to hydration of wells.”

The ejection device can measure the well volume and composition so it can compensate for those changes, and how it can do so is described in U.S. Patent 6,938,987, the 24th patent, which issued on the same day.  In particular, the patent provides methods for acoustically assessing the contents of multiple wells in a microplate or other reservoirs in an array with the potential for more rapid assessment of microplate contents.  “Fast analysis and fast transfers go hand in hand,” said Ellson, “and the patent office seems to agree with the simultaneous issuance of these patents.”

Labcyte Inc. is a privately held company that was formed by the merger of Picoliter Inc. and Labcyte, LLC in October 2003. The company, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, provides a line of compact liquid and plate handling systems, plastic laboratory supplies, as well as the award-winning Echo 550 compound reformatter and the Echo 380 auditor. The Labcyte acoustic liquid handling technology, including the Echo 550, has broad applications in the life science including dispensing equipment, assay systems, particle manufacturing, microarrays, and living-cell transfer devices. Labcyte has 24 issued U.S. patents as well as additional international filings. For more information, visit the company’s website, www.labcyte.com.