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Nov 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 20)

Taking Multiplexing to the Next Level

Increased Speed and Efficiency and Decreased Costs Have Further Boosted Powerful Technology

  • Evolving Microarray Platforms

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    According to Graffinity, the 23,000 small molecule fragments in its library enable the discovery of hit compounds.

    Graffinity’s lead product is its drug-target screening service on its chemical microarray screening platform, which consists of a library of 23,000 small molecule fragments and 87,000 lead-like compounds. These compounds are immobilized on chips and are scanned in the presence of drug-target proteins using SPR imaging technology. “Because our library is large, it is an effective screening tool for identifying novel, diverse structures that bind to a customer’s drug target,” explains Mathias Woker, CBO.

    “We work with various large pharmas and biotechs to increase their chances to discover NCEs,” he continues. “Since the platform is label- and assay-free, we can perform this service every time within the same four-month time frame—including resynthesis of hit molecules.”

    The platform offers access to a range of drug discovery insights, which Kristina Schmidt, Ph.D., CEO, says sets it apart from other lower-throughput SPR technologies with much smaller libraries. “This gives the platform an unprecedented level of diversity,” she adds.

    Graffinity has started applying its technology to the identification of customized ligands for affinity chromatography in protein purification. Using immobilized ligands already at the primary-screening stage simulates how they will behave on affinity chromatography columns. Hence, once identified, a validated hit will most likely enable a unique purification process for a biological. More importantly such small molecule alternatives open up opportunities for new purification process patents, which are often unavailable with peptide- or protein-based methods. “Our small molecule ligands are robust and can undergo numerous cycles,” Dr. Schmidt says.

    There appear to be no limits to the ingenuity of multiplexing gurus as they strive to ratchet up the speed and sensitivity of molecular detection systems. The resultant powerful technologies generate data that may lead to better diagnostic tests and earlier and more effective treatment of infectious diseases, cancer, and other illnesses.

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