Metagenomics is rapidly emerging as a promising method for disease diagnosis, but the need for manual processing is delaying turnaround times and limiting clinical uptake. Dr John Rossen, Head of Global Research & Development and Product Strategy for Europe at IDbyDNA Inc, discusses how the company has developed a test that can give detailed diagnostic reports on pathogens associated with respiratory infections and urinary tract infections, and how automation will speed the transition of this assay from research to routine testing in clinics.
It has been estimated that, by 2050, the world will need to produce 70% more food than in 2005, and will need 50% more fresh water and fuel, while reducing CO2 emissions by 100%. These are massive global challenges that are not going to be solved by current technologies, which is why international teams at the Centre for Solar Biotechnology, based at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at The University of Queensland, Australia, are working with a wide range of industry partners to advance novel algae-based solutions to tackle these issues.
Cell culture is at the heart of the production process for many biopharmaceuticals, but finding the optimal conditions to maximize yield can be a complex and time-consuming process. Traditional process development relies on costly and labor-intensive set-ups, significantly limiting throughput and the range of experimental conditions that can be assessed. Scientists in Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) have adopted an alternative approach, combining single-use microbioreactors with advanced automation and analytical platforms to streamline the workflow.
The initial screening of chromatographic conditions can be a major bottleneck in the development of protein purification protocols. Italian company BiCT – Biological and Chemical Technologies – has turned to automation to overcome this issue, implementing parallel processing of miniature chromatography columns on a liquid handling platform to enable rapid simultaneous screening of a range of conditions. This maximizes the prospect of achieving the best result for each project while saving time and resources.
NGNY Devices is striving to fully automate laborious pre-analytical sample processing for clinical testing, helping to increase throughput and reduce human error. Its systems are already providing advanced sample sorting and aliquoting across Europe, offering a significant advantage over manual sample handling for busy clinical labs.
Our automation laboratory serves principally the lead optimization stage of drug discovery, so we receive several hundred samples per week from medicinal chemistry labs,” said Dr Claude Dufresne, Senior Investigator, who has been working at the Merck site since 1988 and has been developing automation methods and systems for most of the past ten years. “From those samples, we prepare serial dilution plates for distribution to various biological assay laboratories and for our own uses. We also store the samples in order to supply biology labs with samples for retesting and secondary assays; that’s why we needed the SSS
Scientists working in the Screening Unit at the Institute for Molecular Pharmacology in Germany are finding the low volume pipetting capability of the MultiChannel Arm™ 384 beneficial for the investigation of siRNAs and small molecule compound screening.
GlaxoSmithKline’s quest for improved anti-malarial treatments has been revolutionized by the speed and reliability of the HP D300 Digital Dispenser. This innovative system has increased throughput for standard drug titrations and enabled combinations of candidate compounds to be tested much more easily.
The ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental PathologyR (ARUP), based in Salt Lake City, USA, has chosen the Freedom EVOR liquid handling platform for automating RIA and ELISA assays, developing a novel 104-well microplate to increase sample throughput.
A successful partnership between Tecan and the Hochschule für Technik in Rapperswil, Switzerland, has resulted in the development of a new technology called Array Liquid Arrival Check (ArrayLAC) that shows great potential for built-in process control in Tecan pipetting platforms. ArrayLAC will be ideal for real time and parallel volume measurement in microplates before and after pipetting steps.
The Justus-von-Liebig soil sampling laboratory in Bavaria has what is probably the oldest suite of Tecan instruments still in routine use - unless you can tell us otherwise! - and has been using it to test agricultural soil samples for almost twenty years
The Clinical Pharmacology Department in the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Bangkok, has achieved huge time saving with its Freedom EVO® platform from Tecan, reducing time taken for sample preparation from five hours manually to just 20 minutes.
The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) in Seoul, Korea, conducts research to identify the etiology of communicable diseases and to find effective control, prevention, diagnosis and treatment for them.
Automation of Atoll’s 96-array MediaScout® RoboColumns on the Freedom EVO® workstation is proving a popular approach for development of biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
Advanced Technologies Cambridge (ATC), a plant biotechnology company located on the Cambridge Science Park, UK, has chosen the Tecan Freedom EVO® 100 liquid handling workstation to perform complex pipetting tasks for setting up PCR screening assays.
Illumina, a San Diego (CA)-based company, has integrated Tecan liquid handling workstations into its revolutionary, endto- end solutions for large-scale genotyping applications. The collaboration has been crucial for the development of a number of products, including Illumina’s production-scale BeadLab systems, which were deployed by major investigators world wide as part of the International HapMap Project and, more recently, Illumina’s bench-top BeadStation.