October 1, 2014 (Vol. 34, No. 17)
Advancing Screening with Suspension Assays
IntelliCyt develops innovative, high-throughput, high-content cell- and bead-based screening solutions for use in phenotypic drug discovery, antibody discovery, and in vitro toxicity testing. Founded in 2006, the company commercialized High Throughput Flow technology, which combines sensitive flow cytometry-based detection with patented rapid sample processing and has enabled hundreds of labs to screen suspended cells, beads, microbes, and mixtures.
“Before we introduced the first High Throughput Flow instrument, researchers were limited to instruments that used planar technologies such as high-content imaging, which are well-suited for adherent cells, but perform poorly with cells or multiplexed beads that are naturally in suspension,” commented Terry Dunlay, CEO at IntelliCyt. “Therapeutic areas such as immunology were underserved by these screening technologies before IntelliCyt. Many of our initial systems were used to increase the productivity of hybridoma screening laboratories. Since then, our technology has been adopted for a broad range of other suspension assays.”
Today, IntelliCyt’s flagship iQue® Screener systems, along with proprietary MultiCyt® reagents and ForeCyt® software, provide an integrated solution that increases productivity for users throughout the life sciences who need to quickly screen large number of cell or bead-based samples in 96-, 384-, or 1536-well microplates.
Multiplexed Cell Health and Cell Function Screening
IntelliCyt offers a suite of High Throughput Flow (HTF) reagents designed specifically for use with iQue systems. MultiCyt cellular assay reagents include those for monitoring cell health and for multiplexing using a cell encoding system. Cell health screens can monitor a variety of endpoints including proliferation, membrane integrity, apoptosis, and genotoxicity. MultiCyt QBeads™ PlexScreen reagents use immunochemistry to capture specific secreted proteins on distinct bead types. They can detect and quantify both human and rodent secreted proteins including cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, receptors, enzymes, and growth factors, in cell culture media or serum. The reagents include no-wash protocols, and can be multiplexed with up to 30 analytes along with cell health endpoints in a single assay.
Enter High Throughput Flow
Screening cells and extracellular proteins simultaneously can add contextual value to many assays. For example, measuring the production and secretion of IL-2 is a critical component in many biological studies involving T-cell signaling, cancer therapies, and viral infections. The ability to analyze both the health of T-cells and the production of IL-2 simultaneously can provide valuable insights.
Before HTF, high-content analysis of cells and their secreted proteins was limited to low-throughput techniques such as traditional flow cytometry. Only HTF enables the high-throughput and high-content screening of cells and secreted proteins (using bead-based immunoassays) simultaneously at the speed and price needed for screening. IntelliCyt’s iQue Screener systems achieve this by running in standard 96-, 384-, or 1536-well microplates and can analyze 96-wells in as little as 3 minutes. Micro-volume aliquots as small as 1 microliter can be analyzed from assays with volumes as low as 6 microliters, saving valuable reagents and cells. Up to six fluorescence and label-free parameters can be collected for each cell or bead at rates up to 10,000 cells or beads per second, enabling high-content phenotypic assays.
Time for Phenotypic Screening
The realization of the limitations of target-based drug discovery coupled with new technology developments have brought a renewed emphasis on phenotypic discovery as part of a successful overall drug discovery strategy. Ideally, phenotypic cellular assays monitor cell function and profile cell health simultaneously. Information-rich readouts under physiologically relevant conditions enable linkage of a compound’s action and disease-relevant phenotypes earlier in the drug discovery process. This introduces savings in both cost and time as unsuccessful compounds are abandoned earlier in the drug discovery process.
The use of high-content imaging for phenotypic screening has become routine, greatly improving decision making to select and advance candidates. However, limitations remain with imaging. Immobilizing nonadherent cells for imaging may affect assay results. Furthermore, the ability to screen both cells and their extracellular secreted proteins simultaneously is limited with imaging.
IntelliCyt’s High Throughput Flow technologies are well suited to applications in immunology, oncology, inflammation, and infectious diseases, providing a new high-content screening tool for phenotypic screening, antibody screening, toxicity testing, and other high-throughput biology applications.
9620 San Mateo Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
Date Founded: 2006
Number of Employees: 50
To learn more about IntelliCyt and the iQue platform, visit www.intellicyt.com.