GEN: How extensively is high-content imaging being used in drug discovery and academia?
Evans: High-content screening (HCS) was developed in drug discovery. Six years ago, MIT and the Whitehead Institute partnered with Cellomics to bring high-content screening into an academic environment, particularly for systems biology applications. Right now, the two areas are pretty even. There’s a lot of high-content screening being done in both drug discovery and academia. RNAi screening is probably the predominant academic application, particularly at places like the Broad Institute.
Lam: High-content screening has traditionally been used as a secondary screen. However, it is moving toward the primary screening area due to advances in data workflow and data management.
von Leoprechting: Traditionally, high-content screening was used in drug discovery, mainly in secondary screening or for tox applications where it offered a particular benefit over existing methods. From there, academic screening centers started to use HCS with phenotypic assays for mechanistic research and drug screening. Today HCS has become a well-established tool for both cell-based drug discovery and academic research. At this time, the technology advancement is clearly led by academia and many new developments like higher-throughput technologies, better spectral-resolution techniques, improved image-analysis tools and reagents, are being developed in academia.