drug discovery: a range of solutions

Pharmaceutical companies are currently facing the challenge of significantly increasing the number of NCEs to sustain profitability and investor confidence. This directly impacts on HTS, as this process is at the centre of lead discovery in most major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

HTS has not surprisingly played a major role in driving the field of laboratory automation.

However the direction of HTS automation and the associated drug discovery processes varies widely from complete industrialisation, as exemplified by all encompassing the adrug discovery factory' approach to smaller apersonal' robotics, in many cases consisting only of a pick and place robot, a liquid dispenser and a reader.

PerkinElmer aims to deliver a range of solutions that span the entire breadth of customer need.

At the simplest level it offers the Apricot Personal Pipettors, which can be operated entirely manually providing simple standalone microplate (96 and 384) processing. It is the obvious next step for labs that have used multichannel hand pipettes, but now need to process more plates at higher density, more quickly.

The multi-station Apricot systems provide a greater degree of automated sample preparation at a and are suitable suited for assay development labs. Fillwell, its latest offering, is a liquid handler for customers requiring precision and flexibility within a compact modular workstation environment.

Fillwell modules can be operated standalone, used with fast integrated stacking for up to 200 microplates, linked with HTS readers (EnVision and ViewLux) to form more complex workstations or integrated as an advanced pipetting modules into any larger robotic system. Fillwell modules can function as a dedicated robot for simple tasks, as complete assay platforms or even enable portions of assays on larger robots.

Despite their size and simplicity, such simple system can be expected to process small HTS campaigns or batches of 100 000s compounds for simple homogenous assay technologies.

In contrast, the larger CCS-Packard PlatTrak offer what PerkinElmer says is athe ultimate in HTS Automated Platforms with unsurpassed flexibility' to sustain ultraHTS (100 000 compounds per day) and enable even the most complex heterogenous assay protocols.

PlatTrak systems are already common place in many drug discovery labs delivering unattended operation for total lab efficiency.

Key to Fillwell and PlatTrak systems is modularity and the ability to combine such sample processing with PerkinElmer's core detection instrumentation (EnVision, ViewLux, ImageTrak, Fusion, MicroBeta, Victor, TopCount) and assay technologies (LANCE, DELFIA, BRET, AlphaScreen, FP2, FlashPlate).


PerkinElmer Life Sciences is based in Turku, Finland. http://lifesciences.perkinelmer.com

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