Enhanced Ease of Use and Scalability
Demand from the pharmaceutical industry for easier-to-use, readily scalable transfection platforms began spiking about three years ago, said James Brady, Ph.D., director of technical applications at MaxCyte, which has long had an electroporation-based transfection platform (MaxCyte GT) for use in the clinic.
“We're seeing interest not just for protein production, but also for developing cell-based assays. Many are using these systems to load GPCR, ion channels, and other drug targets into cells. It's seen primarily as a way to sidestep the labor-intensive process you go through to make a stable cell line.”
Leveraging its clinical experience, MaxCyte developed MaxCyte STX for preclinical applications and ease of use.
Electroporation protocols have been optimized for cell types and loaded on the platform, eliminating the need to fiddle with electrical parameters such as voltage, pulse shape, and pulse size, he noted. “We have a drop-down menu with three dozen cell types; you simply select a cell type and then select a scale.”
The STX can transfect as few as half a million cells or up to 10 billion cells in a single batch. “In a few hours time you can produce 10 billion cells, get them into culture, and that's enough to give you milligram quantities of protein in a couple of weeks.” The system also handles a wide variety of cell types, including insect cells.
A major trend, added Dr. Brady, is growing interest in transfecting physiologically relevant cells that are going to give the proper post-translational modifications. “Being able to transfect the cells efficiently and still maintain good viability and make minimal perturbations to the normal physiology of the cell is very critical to a lot of our customers.”