Labcyte Receives 21st Patent for Acoustic Droplet Ejection

Control of the Flow of an Acoustic Coupling Fluid

July 19, 2005
Sunnyvale, CA

Sunnyvale, CA, July 19, 2005– Labcyte Inc. has received U.S. Patent 6,916,083, its 21st patent, which discloses how to control the flow of a coupling fluid to provide efficient transfer of acoustic energy into a multi-well plate. The Labcyte® Echo™ 550 compound reformatter applies focused acoustic pulses to liquid in the individual wells of a multiwell plate in order to touchlessly move that liquid to a destination plate. This nanoliter transfer eliminates the serial dilutions commonly used in high-throughput screening (HTS) laboratories saving time and money while improving results and ending crosscontamination. In order to transfer quickly from a source plate to a destination plate, the transducer of the Echo 550 must move rapidly. This patent resolves problems encountered when rapidly moving a transducer such as the introduction of air bubbles and inconsistent coupling fluid flow.

“The techniques taught in this patent speed surveying, compound reformatting, microplate replication and cherry picking,” said Richard Ellson, Labcyte Chief Technical Officer. “By providing consistent acoustic coupling of the transducer during very rapid sequential motion of the acoustic transducer from well to well, more wells can be addressed per second by each of these processes.  Also, for liquid transfers, these techniques compensate for the vertical motion of the transducer to focus acoustic energy at the fluid surface of each well.”

“Control of the coupling fluid increases the total number of surveys and assays that can be performed in a single day while maintaining high precision in the survey and transfer of biologically active compounds.” The Echo 550 compound reformatter uses the technologies described in this U.S. patent as well as others in the company’s portfolio of 21 U.S. patents. The Echo 550 received an R&D 100 award for technical innovation and was the subject of scientific presentations on its use at pharmaceutical companies for high-throughput screening. The Echo 550 compound reformatter is in use at seven major pharmaceutical companies as well as in universities as part of the new Molecular Libraries Screening Centers Network (MLSCN), a component of the NIH Roadmap Initiative. 

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 plastic laboratory supplies, as well as the Echo 550 compound dispenser. The Labcyte acoustic liquid handling technology has broad applications in the life science including dispensing equipment, assay systems, particle manufacturing, microarrays, and live-cell transfer devices. Labcyte has 21 issued U.S. patents on acoustic technology and over 20 U.S. patent applications pending as well as additional international filings. For more information, visit the company’s website,