Beckman Coulter (www.beckmancoulter.com) introduced the Biomek 3000-ArrayPLEX Workstation, an RNA-preparation solution for gene expression arrays. This workstation is a small-footprint version of the higher-throughput Biomek FX ArrayPLEX application, developed with Affymetrix (www.affymetrix.com) for GeneChip customers. Capable of processing 196 samples in a single run with minimal user intervention, the workstation can be used with a variety of chemistries and chips and has the flexibility to perform other nucleic acid preparation applications, according to the company.
The process of target prep for gene expression analysis is time-consuming and labor-intensive, explained David Daniels, applications marketing manager for Beckman Coulter. Through our work with Affymetrix and our acquisition of Agencourt, we have been able to optimize our automation technology for this advanced solution.
Astech Projects (www.astechprojects. com) launched the Tablet-Pro, an automated tablet processing system for drug content analysis. Tablet-Pro is designed to fully automate content uniformity testing and stability analysis, leading to higher throughput rates, according to Anthony Moran, Astechs business development manager.
Current industry expectations are 1 tablet every 30 minutes, creating backlogs in batch testing. This is often accompanied by vessel size restrictions. Tablet-Pro offers a market-leading throughput restricted only by the number of modules. Improved scalability allows users to specify the number of homogenizers, vessel size, and volumes for dissolution.
Tablet-Pros advanced software supports parallel processing functions for high throughput. The system is fully compliant with 21 CFR Part 11 and Good Automated Manufacturing Practice (GAMP), according to Moran. It can be integrated with liquid chromatography systems and chromatographic data systems for automated analysis of samples.
Tecan (www.tecan.com) and its subsidiary, REMP (www.remp.com), combined Tecans sample preparation and microplate reader (screening and assay) capabilities with REMPs compound and sample storage, managerial, and logistic solutions.
Tecans Cellerity system for automated culturing of adherent cells enables increasing the quality of research by running additional cell-based assays each week, according to Carl Severinghaus, head of Tecan US. A multichannel arm for the Freedom EVO automated liquid-handling workstation provides cost-effective automation of high-throughout applications such as genomic drug screening, according to Severinghaus.
Another introduction was pressure-monitored pipetting, in which Tecan is working with kit companies and allowing methods to have predefined curves, in order to determine problems in the process and enable immediate action.
Tecan also introduced the Infinite 200 series of upgradeable multi-function microplate readers, which offers a choice of monochromator or filter-based excitation/emission and combines reagent dispensing with several detection modes. The modular design allows for configuration for performing absorbance, fluorescence top and bottom, fluorescence polarization, and photon-counting luminescence readings in 6 to 384-well microplate formats, as well as PCR plates and cuvettes.
REMP started with automation of traditional tube racks, initially developed for manual processing, explained Donat Elsener, REMPs president of sales and marketing. Disadvantages encountered were high error rate of robotic handling, no seal available, only large volume available, and multiple access with freeze/thaw cycles.