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Mar 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 5)

Review: LabAuto Product Introductions

Hardware and Software Solutions Intended to Increase Efficiency in Biotechnology Research

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    Ekisigent Technologies’ ExpressHT Ultra HPLC system

    à MDS Analytical Technologies introduced six- and two-channel versions of the SpectraMax® L multiple photomultiplier-based platform for microplate luminometers to screen small molecules for biological activity and investigate protein-protein interactions. 

    Increasing throughput with additional PMT tubes and injectors, the systems can perform bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays for proteomics studies. According to company president Andy Boorn, small biotech and pharmaceutical companies now have a cost-effective approach to medium-throughput, Aequorin-based GPCR, and luciferase-based reporter gene screening, and large pharmaceutical companies get to validate and optimize assays before large-scale screening.

    à Parallume™ optical-encoding technology from Parallel Synthesis Technologies is based on two to six different rare earth elements that emit at six discrete and resolvable colors when excited at a single wavelength. “Displaying less spectral overlap than quantum dots or organic dyes, it is possible to measure the relative fluorescent intensity of these emitters accurately, allowing the resolution of a large number of ratiometric optical codes or optical signatures,” said Robert Haushalter, Ph.D., president and founder. Parallel has developed many nucleic acid and protein-detection chemistries and protocols for the beads.

    à Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting, Celula enables sorting and recovery of small populations of cells, operating anywhere from 1,000 to 300,000 cells in 5- to 50-microliter total volume. The cartridge-based, software-driven benchtop sorter for individual labs can be used simply by loading the cells and snapping the lid, explained Andy Katz, Ph.D., vp, CBO, and cofounder of Celula, who said that the instrument provides high-purity, multiparameter selection for stem cells, GFP cells, and translational research.

    à Cisbio Bioassays exhibited its homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence (HTRF®), which Glenn Knapik, GM, Cisbio US, described as “a highly sensitive, robust technology for the detection of molecular interactions of proteins in vitro.” The technology is used for primary and secondary screening phases of drug development. HTplex technology detects more than one analyte in a well or more than one molecule in a sample.

    à Boreal Genomics offers electrophoretic technology to extract samples that are contaminated or highly dilute, reported Andre Marziali, CSO. “It’s better at rejecting contaminants than beads, because it uses physical, as opposed to chemical, methods.” The Aurora nucleic acid platform is capable of extraction and concentration of nucleic acids from 1 mL of sample in five minutes, with single nucleotide resolution, he said. The SCODA platform purifies DNA and RNA from up to 5 mL of sample even in the presence of solid materials.

    à CyBio offers exchangeable multichannel pipetting heads for precision, versatility, and future upgradeability into the CyBi® WellFlex and CyBi WellFlex vario liquid-handling systems. The Flex Head one- and eight-channel pipetting tool offers serial dilutions or hit picking, enabling automation of a broad spectrum of applications instead of changing the whole system, according to Patricia Ahrweiler, sales representative.

    à The ExpressHT™ Ultra HPLC system from Eksigent Technologies provides short cycle times and high throughput for LC/MS studies of pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, in the words of Don Arnold, Ph.D., founder and vp. Using columns with diameters of 1 mm or smaller, the system uses 95% less solvent per analysis than traditional HPLC systems, he said.  With cycle times as short as 60 seconds, the ExpressHT-Ultra can run 96-well sample plates overnight.

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