Assay Development

Automation and flexibility for accelerated assay development

Introduction

The goal of assay development is to deliver specific procedures to assess or quantify the presence, amount or function of one or multiple target molecules. Immunoassays (e.g., ELISA) and molecular assays (e.g., qPCR) often provide the basis for sensitive diagnostic tests, while biochemical and cell-based assays play a pivotal role in drug development.

Accelerating drug development

In the drug discovery process, assay development aims to deliver specific procedures for assessing a compound or examining a compound’s effects on the identified cellular or biochemical target. Therefore, robust assay development is an integral step when significant effort and costs can be eliminated by screening for nonviable candidates early in the process. Often tens of thousands of compounds need to be screened using uniquely designed biochemical or cell-based assays, so it is important to have a flexible platform for a wide range of assays. CELLINK provides key instrumentation for efficient, high-throughput assay development, including solutions for highly multiplexed low-volume liquid handling, automated live-cell imaging and a variety of bioprinters to create 3D cell cultures, which offer a better representation of activity response than 2D.

Accelerating drug development

In drug development, assay development aims on delivering specific procedures to assess a compound or examine a compound’s effects on the identified cellular or biochemical targets. Therefore, it is an integral step in the drug discovery process, where significant effort and cost savings are incurred when robust assay development can screen out non-viable candidates early in the process. Often tens of thousands of compounds need to be screened using specifically designed biochemical or cell-based assays. Thus, it is important to have a flexible platform for a large range of assays. CELLINK provides key instrumentation for efficient, high- throughput assay development, including solutions for highly multiplexed low-volume liquid handling, automated live cell imagers, and a variety of bioprinters to create 3D cell cultures, which have better representation of activity response than 2D.

Miniaturization and flexibility for assay development

The I-DOT can readily dispense into standard microwell plates (including 384, 1536 and higher density formats), allowing assay miniaturization and high-throughput screening of different drugs and bio-compounds. A single I-DOT source well plate can contain up to 96 different compounds, and multiple permutations of drug concentrations across the well plate with different drug mixtures in each well can be generated. This flexibility enables fast screening of various compounds and reagent compositions.

The I-DOT can dispense volumes as low as 8 nanoliters, allowing for extreme miniaturization of reaction volumes. Even the most complex liquid-handling tasks can be performed within minutes due to the I-DOT´s ability of highly parallel non-contact dispensing. Cost savings are often significant, especially since no pipette tips are required.

Many applications

The I-DOT is simple to use and requires little maintenance, making it the ideal instrument for laboratories that work on a variety of different molecular assays, including single-cell omics methods, qPCR and NGS library preparation, as well as cell-based assays.

Easy generation of 3D cell culture

Certainly, 3D cell cultures provide several advantages over 2D cell cultures for assay development. The former often better simulate the environment of the tissue of interest, maintain important interactions between cells and are a more realistic representation of how cells and tissues are organized. While the I-DOT is an ideal tool for cell dispensing and for generating organoids, our bioprinters such as the BIO X or BIO X6 allow for rapid generation of complex 3D tissue models. In addition, we offer a variety of ready-to-use bioinks and protocols for different tissue and disease models.

High-throughput imaging for live cell monitoring

The CELLCYTE X offers live cell imaging for online tracking of cell behavior in response to various compounds. The imager features three fluorescent channels, which enable flexibility with common fluorescent-based measurements used in assay development. The device is compact and readily fits in an incubator for time-lapse cell imaging. The system significantly increases walk-away time and helps automate cell-based assays. CELLINK’s cloud-based software delivers remote monitoring without the risk of disturbing an experiment. In addition, it comes with built-in tools for the analysis of cell proliferation, cell viability, cell migration and more.

Related publication

iFISH is a publically available resource enabling versatile DNA FISH to study genome architecture

Author(s): Eleni Gelali, Gabriele Girelli, Masahiro Matsumoto, Erik Wernersson, Joaquin Custodio, Ana Mota, Maud Schweitzer, Katalin Ferenc, Xinge Li, Reza Mirzazadeh, Federico Agostini, John P. Schell, Fredrik Lanner, Nicola Crosetto & Magda Bienko

Karolinska Institutet

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