Labcyte Inc. (Formerly Picoliter Inc.) Announces Fundamental Patent on Acoustic Drop Dispensing

Labcyte Inc. announced today it has been awarded its eighth U.S. patent, extending its intellectual property to cover use of focused acoustics to dispense a variety of liquids from numerous reservoirs, such as microplate wells. U.S. Patent 6,666,541, entitled “Acoustic Ejection of Fluids from a Plurality of Reservoirs“, describes technology Labcyte believes will be important for precisely transferring nanoliter- and picoliter-sized samples to assay plates and arrays for a wide variety of life science applicatio

December 23, 2003
Sunnyvale, CA
Sunnyvale, CA, December 23, 2003–Labcyte Inc. announced today it has been awarded its eighth U.S. patent, extending its intellectual property to cover use of focused acoustics to dispense a variety of liquids from numerous reservoirs, such as microplate wells.  U.S. Patent 6,666,541, entitled “Acoustic Ejection of Fluids from a Plurality of Reservoirs“, describes technology Labcyte believes will be important for precisely transferring nanoliter- and picoliter-sized samples to assay plates and arrays for a wide variety of life science applications.

The new Labcyte patent describes a process for using focused acoustics (ultrasound) to eject droplets from many reservoirs, which may contain samples such as potential drug candidates, DNA for SNP testing, or RNA for expression analysis. This process enables the transfer of nanoliter and picoliter droplets with precision and reliability that have not been achieved with the traditional approaches such as pin tools and ink-jet devices.  Since these samples are often very valuable and difficult to create, reduction in the sample transfer volume is critical for lowering the cost per data point and increasing the amount of information derived from each sample.

This new patent describes the fundamental process used in Labcyte’s recently introduced instrument, the Echo 550.  With an initial target application of dispensing pharmaceutical library compounds into 384- and 1536-well assay plates, the Echo 550 serves as a platform instrument for Labcyte to validate a variety of additional life science applications. Labcyte also believes the technology covered in the new patent has the potential to produce high density spotted arrays with higher reproducibility and reliability than is possible with the currently used pin tools and nozzle-based approaches.

“This new patent, along with our first patent for ejection from wells that are at least twice as deep as they are wide, provides increased clarity with respect to ownership of rights to use the acoustic drop ejection technology for dispensing from microwell plates.” said Elaine J. Heron, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Labcyte Inc.

Labcyte also announced that it has hired R. Bruce Jamieson as World Wide Vice President, Sales and Service, with responsibility for developing and managing the team that will bring the company’s products to the life science R&D marketplace.  Mr. Jamieson has more than 20 years experience in liquid handling at Zymark, Robbins, Sagian and Argonaut Technologies.

Labcyte Inc. is a privately held company that was formed by the merger of Picoliter Inc. and Labcyte, LLC in October, 2003.  The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and provides a line of compact liquid and plate handling systems, plastic laboratory supplies, as well as the Echo 550 low volume liquid dispenser.  The Labcyte acoustic liquid handling technology has broad applications in the life science including dispensing equipment, assay systems, particle manufacturing, microarrays, and living cell transfer devices.  Labcyte has over 30 U.S. patent applications pending with the USPTO as well as additional international filings.  For more information, visit the company’s website,www.labcyte.com.