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- Chromatography & Mass Spectrometry
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- Drug Discovery
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- Informatics & Lab Automation
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Lab Automation - Articles and news items
While robotics systems have been useful tools in the laboratory for many years, most notably in the area of liquid handling, many tasks are still only automated to a small extent. At the same time a new wave of robotic devices is reaching the market – from robot lawn mowers to driverless cars, as well as smarter robots in manufacturing. These benefit from the latest advances in mechatronics, sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms. Many of these advances are taking place in Europe thanks to ambitious public funding programmes. This article highlights some of the latest advances in robotics, which have the potential to take laboratory automation, and the science it enables, to the next level…
Blog / 22 April 2016 / Snehal Chougule, Allied Market Research
Here, Snehal Chougule discusses Trajan’s recent acquisition of automation solution company, LEAP Technologies Inc…
Supplier news / 24 February 2016 / Tecan
The ARNA Laboratory in Bordeaux, France, is using DNA and RNA aptamers to develop novel tools for biological applications…
Supplier news / 4 February 2016 / L.B. Bohle Maschinen + Verfahren GmbH
Continuous processing for secondary manufacturing in pharma is still one of the hottest topics currently discussed…
Supplier news / 8 September 2015 / Tecan
Phenomenex, Inc. and the Tecan Group (SIX Swiss Exchange: TECN) today announced a collaboration to co-market automated solid phase extraction (SPE) sample preparation solutions…
Drug Discovery, Issue 6 2013 / 15 December 2013 / Sergio C. Chai, Asli N. Goktug and Taosheng Chen, High Throughput Screening Center, Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Liquid handlers are ubiquitous and essential tools in every aspect of the drug discovery arena. Innovations in the past few decades resulted in a sizeable array of devices. With so many choices, it is important to identify appropriate instrumentation for a particular screening strategy, which should be based on unique capabilities and limitations. Intense advances in the design of liquid handling devices have broadened the capabilities to screen larger collections of compounds at a faster pace with increased reliability and efficiency. These innovations drift towards miniaturisation, in large part to reduce cost and increase throughput. A wide selection of fluid handlers has been developed for every aspect of drug discovery, which incorporate different technologies for discrete functions. Although this segment focuses on instrumentation relevant to the screening of small organic molecules, the perspectives presented herein can be valuable in the handling of oligonucleotides or biologics…
As RNA interference (RNAi) enters its teenage years from the first critical observations, it has now reached a multi-billion pound industry. There are few research areas that have expanded as quickly and spectacularly as the field of RNAi. The potential of RNAi initially sparked a functional genomics gold rush. Different uses of this technology in genomewide screens have identified genes involved in fundamental biological processes. There are now hundreds of research papers reporting genome-wide screens using cell culture to investigate the building blocks of the cell. However tempting it may be to speculate that this technology could be the new magic bullet to all our research needs, especially after some of the previous successes, some basic aspects of the RNAi technology and screening process still need to be addressed and improved upon. This review will investigate the strengths and weaknesses of our current technology, suggesting improvements and highlighting some of the novel growth areas in this field.
Our foundations of cell biology rely upon an understanding of cellular pathways, the components of which have been investigated over the last 40 years or so. Recent embellish – ment of the pathways has been carried out using models in cell culture with RNAi technology1. Many techniques have been used to reveal the functions of core pathway proteins, but few have sparked the imagination like the RNAi screen with the potential to systematically knock down the expression of every gene in the genome.
The pharmaceutical industry has significantly influenced laboratory automation trends in the past two decades. The need to screen large collections of chemical entities in a short time with minimised consumption of reagents has driven a strong demand of parallelisation, automation, simplification and miniaturisation solutions from the suppliers of instruments, labware and assay technologies. Currently, the levels of automation and miniaturisation seem to have reached a plateau and the new paradigms are flexibility and information content.
In this article, an overview regarding advances in assay formats for specific target classes and options that should be considered when considering hardware will be given. There has been a significant growth in the assay and automation technologies that are available for compound screening activities and it is essential to evaluate a variety of these before beginning a drug discovery program, the aims of these being to ensure the most relevant assay formats that are available are adopted.
Over the past decade we have seen a significant realignment of activities associated with drug discovery and this will continue for a multitude of reasons. Within the pharmaceutical industry we have seen significant changes e.g. a decrease in the numbers of drugs that are being approved by the regulatory authorities and the looming expiration of patented drugs, both of which have an immediate and direct consequence on revenue streams. In light of these issues, the pharmaceutical industry is responding appropriately. These changes have included a re-assessment of the strategies being employed in the pre-clinical phase of drug discovery, some of which are discussed in relation to automation solutions.
Participants: Dr Gordon R Alton, President and CEO, Altonyx Consulting / Dr Scott Bowes
Scientist, Novartis / Dr Sheraz Gul, Vice President and Head of Biology, European ScreeningPort /
Chris Molloy, Vice President of Corporate Development, IDBS
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