Tecan Journal Life Sciences ❙ Clinical Diagnostics ❙ Forensics ❙ OEM ❙ Business and Technical News
Edition 2 / 2010
Faster sample preparation for tropical disease research pages 22-23
18 years old and still going strong page 9
New tools for drug discovery pages 14 – 15
DNA-based biomolecular computing pages 20 – 21
CEO WELCOME TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
After 30 years at the top, innovation is still key… …to Tecan’s continuing success. This innovation takes place at many levels within our organization, from instruments and components to software and consumables. Thanks to the initiative of our engineers, Tecan’s pioneering solutions are now driving ground-breaking advances in various sectors of the life science industry, many of which would not have been possible without automation. Through the INSP!RE project, we are dedicated to delivering marketled solutions, combining radical thinking with technical excellence on behalf of our customers.
This issue of the Tecan Journal celebrates the innovation and trail-blazing thinking that has kept Tecan at the forefront of laboratory automation for so long. We look at how the demands of the laboratory environment have changed over time with a pipetting station that has been going strong for 18 years, as well as how one of our latest initiatives in liquid handling – TouchTools Suite™ – has been creating a buzz at shows and exhibitions around the globe. We also have details of some of our latest products, such as the Infinite® 200 PRO, which builds on the success of an already popular product line to deliver even better performance for customers’ applications. We hope you enjoy the issue,
Thomas Bachmann, CEO
CONTENTS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
TouchTools Suite generates a buzz
4 New process security and efficiency for multiplexed bioassay preparation 4
SAVE NOW – trade in your Genesis workstation for a new Freedom EVO®
5 Construct your own robot – custom design for the Freedom EVO 75
Tecan wins SelectScience Award
Infinite 200 PRO offers new horizons in microplate detection
Scientists collaborate to measure radiation poisoning on a mass scale
Tecan launches new services for Australasia
Scripps compound management operations rely on REMP flexible storage technology
18 years old and still going strong
Faster sample preparation for tropical disease research
10-11 Award winning efficiency 12-13 Sharing a successful formula 14-15 New tools for drug discovery 16-17 An astonishing screening capacity for kinetic studies 18
Automated equilibrium dialysis for plasma protein binding analysis
We love our Tecan
20-21 DNA-based biomolecular computing 22-23 Faster sample preparation for tropical disease research 24-25 Checking out what’s checking in 26-27 Pre-analytics made even easier 27
Leading the debate
PROduCT NEWS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
New process security and efficiency for multiplexed bioassay preparation Tecan has worked closely with Luminex® Corporation to develop a sample preparation workstation for Luminex’s xMAP® technology, creating the most advanced solution on the market for fully automated bioassay multiplexing. Based on Tecan’s Freedom EVO® liquid handling platforms, this open-configuration, scalable system offers seamless integration of the Luminex 200™, Luminex 100™ and FLEXMAP 3D™ multiplex analyzers. Already an industry standard for genetic testing, Luminex’s open-architecture xMAP technology combines fluorescent microsphere technology with flow cytometry to offer powerful multiplexed bioassay capabilities, allowing simultaneous detection of up to 500 distinct analytes in
a single reaction. Tecan has collaborated closely with Luminex application specialists to develop a platform to meet the specific sample preparation and assay optimization needs of multiplex testing in clinical and research laboratories. This complete solution includes a HydroFlex™ washer for magnetic bead washing and vacuum separation, and employs washable fixed tips for superior microsphere recovery. Automation of Luminex’s powerful bead technology offers improved laboratory efficiency, error free operation and seamless handling of patient lists. Luminex’s xPONENT® software has been fully integrated into Freedom EVOware®, with bidirectional control to ensure true walkaway operation, and automated error handling to
minimize loss of precious samples. Advanced dynamic scheduling offers even greater efficiency, by taking advantage of variable read times to maximize throughput, and comprehensive sample tracking provides a secure audit trail for all automated assays. For even greater ease of use, these workstations are also available with Tecan’s innovative TouchTools Suite™, allowing realtime control of the Freedom EVO platform through an easy-to-use touchscreen interface. To find out more about Tecan’s Luminex applications, visit www.tecan.com/luminex Luminex, xMAP and xPONENT are registered trademarks, Luminex 100, Luminex 200 and FLEXMAP 3D are trademarks of Luminex Corporation.
SAVE NOW – trade in your Genesis workstation for a new Freedom EVO® The Genesis workstation has been superseded by our more powerful Freedom EVO platform and, from January 2012, we will no longer be providing support for the Genesis. Tecan’s special offer, along with our network of service and application specialists, can help you make a smooth transition to a NEW Freedom EVO, ensuring that you continue to benefit from the performance and reliability you have come to depend on for all your assay results. The flexible Freedom EVO series is available in four different worktable capacities (75, 100, 150 and 200 cm). With a range of automation-friendly devices, it can easily be tailored to your laboratory’s application
workflow needs. A variety of arms allows robotic and liquid handling functions to be performed in parallel for maximum throughput. The flexibility of the system design allows the Freedom EVO to evolve to meet the needs of your laboratory and it can easily be reconfigured on-site as your needs change. All Freedom EVO workstations are powered by the user-friendly Freedom EVOware® software. Trade in your old Genesis before December 31, 2011, and receive major savings on a NEW Freedom EVO. To find out more on Tecan’s Freedom EVO, visit www.tecan.com/tradein
PROduCT NEWS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Construct your own robot – custom design for the Freedom EVO® 75 Now you too can build your own robot. Tecan has just introduced the Freedom EVO configurator, a web-based application which enables the user to custom design a Freedom EVO 75 platform to meet a laboratory’s specific requirements. This easy-to-use website allows scientists to build a virtual Freedom EVO 75 platform by adding individual modules, such as liquid handling arms, plate handling robotics and labware carriers, to meet their exact requirements. Alternatively, the user can choose from a number of pre-defined layouts – PCR, ELISA, xMAP assay, and nucleic acid extraction – which can be customized by the addition or removal of components,
as required. A drop-down overview of the selected options enables the user to review the platform configuration and to make amendments if necessary. Once the final platform layout has been determined, the chosen configuration can be printed for future reference. To discuss the custom built Freedom EVO 75 in further detail, or to place an order, contact the Tecan sales team via the ‘Contact Sales’ button on the website. To find out more, and to design your own Freedom EVO 75, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevo75
Freedom EVO configurator allows you to construct a virtual Freedom EVO 75.
TouchTools Suite™ generates a buzz with conference attendees TouchTools Suite has proven to be a star attraction among visitors at the numerous conferences and exhibitions Tecan has attended since its launch last year. The intuitive, touchscreen control system has made automated liquid handling more accessible to many scientists, allowing real-time control of Freedom EVO® platforms without the need to program pre-defined scripts.
platform, while minimizing the risk of errors. This user-friendliness has been very well received by occasional users and automation specialists alike. For specialists it means that they do not need to guide colleagues through running even very basic methods and, for inexperienced users, it allows them to take advantage of the Freedom EVO’s automation capabilities without having to invest time in automation training.”
Eskil Trollhagen, Tecan product manager for the TouchTools Suite, recently received a SelectScience.tv Web Award for his video guide through the system’s capabilities, and explained the reasons for its success: “TouchTools Suite graphically guides the user through setting up and running a method on the Freedom EVO workstation, making it easy for inexperienced users to operate the
“One of the most attractive features of TouchTools is Instant Pipetting™, which allows the operator to control the platform in real time, an industry first. This has been a real draw for conference attendees, allowing them to see the Freedom EVO performing their commands immediately. TouchTools Suite is so easy to use that many visitors were actually teaching each other to use it.”
For details of events where you can meet Tecan in the coming months, see the back page or go to www.tecan.com/events. To find out more about Tecan’s TouchTools Suite, visit www.tecan.com/touchtools
PROduCT NEWS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Infinite® 200 PRO offers new horizons in microplate detection Building on the success of the Infinite 200 series, Tecan has developed the Infinite 200 PRO multimode microplate reader, with new enhancements that cater for the needs of today’s scientists. The Infinite 200 PRO offers flexible, scaleable detection solutions in an easy-to-use modular instrument, providing a full range of leading detection methods, plus innovations such as TR-FRET (HTRF®) functionality and improved cell-based applications. A variety of features designed to improve sensitivity and reproducibility are available – such as enhanced fluorescence intensity (FI) bottom reading with optimal read function (OR), linear/orbital shaking and temperature control – ensuring excellent performance and reliability for cell-based and biochemical measurements. The Infinite 200 PRO uses advanced optics and high performance detectors, giving uncompromised performance in all detection modes, with automated z-focus adjustment for improved FI top measurements. Users can select from either Quad4 Monochromators™ or an intelligent filter slide system, adding a choice of modules to create the perfect reader for their needs, without losing the option to upgrade in the future.
A state-of-the-art injector module allows dispensing of up to two reagents per well, helping to replace a manual pipetting step or to trigger fast kinetic reactions. Its metal-free needles are ideal for ion studies, preventing interference of metal ions in reactions, and low dead volumes minimize wastage of substrates and buffers. The bulk reagent dispense function eliminates tedious pipetting steps for 6- to 384well plates, with easily accessible prime/ wash buttons to ensure straightforward maintenance. The system is also compatible with Tecan’s innovative NanoQuant Plate™, a quartzbased tool that can measure up to 16 samples simultaneously, from just 2 μl sample volumes. This unique tool extends the flexibility of the Infinite 200 PRO for microvolume spectrophotometry applications, such as quantitation of nucleic acids for quality control and labeling efficiency, creating a truly multipurpose system. To find out more about Tecan’s Infinite 200 PRO, visit www.tecan.com/infinite HTRF is a registered trademark of Cisbio Bioassays, France.
CORPORATE NEWS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Scientists collaborate to measure radiation poisoning on a mass scale Tecan is collaborating with Arizona State University (ASU), USA, to develop the Integrated Biodosimetry System, a prototype robotic system for rapid, high throughput screening to measure an individual’s level of exposure to radiation in the event of a radiological or nuclear incident. The Integrated Biodosimetry System uses a biomarker signature set, based on gene expression markers, that provides a distinct indicator for the level of absorbed radiation. The project, involving several prestigious organizations, is supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and focuses on development of a system to enable more rapid triage of patients than is currently possible. Dr Carl Yamashiro, principal investigator at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, explained: “With the proliferation of advanced radiological materials in hospitals, clinics or nuclear facilities
throughout the world, the risks and threats of a ‘dirty bomb’ incident or similar nuclear disaster remain very real.” Carl continued: “The research team will work with Tecan on building a ‘box’ that can contain the entire system, allowing scientists to analyze blood samples from up to 2,000 people per day, per instrument, with an eight-hour turnaround for individual measurements. The beauty of our system is its versatility. Not only will we be developing a system for the effective response to a nuclear or radiological event that could affect a large population, but the high throughput platform can also be used to advance genomics testing and other routine laboratory procedures measuring gene expression levels.” Peter Siesel, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tecan US, said: “We are pleased and excited to be part of this impressive collaboration. Tecan has a long history of
Dr Carl Yamashiro is principal investigator at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.
providing world class automation solutions for our partners and customers. This project is especially exciting because of its importance to the defense and protection of the US population.”
Tecan launches new services for Australasia Tecan Australia is a new business venture aimed at providing dedicated regional support to Tecan customers throughout Australasia. This latest commitment builds on and continues the established partnership with AimLab to promote and support Tecan’s range of laboratory instruments in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands. The existing team of highly trained sales and support staff will now be able to provide enhanced service through dedicated support of Tecan products, further strengthening its existing relationships with world class research and diagnostics customers in the region. Roland Durner, General Manager for Tecan Australia and former Director of Market
and Application Management at Tecan in Switzerland, commented: “We are very pleased to be taking the next step in expanding our presence in Australia. Tecan Australia is committed to ensuring that customers receive the highest standard of service, working closely with AimLab to meet the specific needs of the Australasia market. With my broad expertise in application management, I am excited to increase our capabilities in life sciences and clinical diagnostics in the region.” Tecan is also expanding the range of services it can offer to customers in Australia and New Zealand. A dedicated support hotline has already been launched, allowing customers to speak directly to Tecan
personnel for help, support and advice on their applications. A new training center will also be established, to provide customers with easier access to Tecan’s comprehensive range of courses and tutorials.
The Tecan Australia team.
SAMPLE MANAGEMENT TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Scripps compound management operations rely on REMP flexible storage technology The Scripps Research Institute, Florida, USA, relies on the REMP Small-Size Store™ for its compound management operations. The flexible REMP system allows quick and easy access to samples, and is fully integrated with Scripps’ LIMS database.
Peter Hodder, Senior Director and Head of Lead Identification, explained: “We wanted a system that was small and expandable, very flexible in terms of handling small orders, but also capable of very rapid turnaround, and from our perspective that was the SSS. What we loved about the SSS system was that we could configure it to meet our needs, whether that is 1,536 well plates or 96-tube racks.” “We worked very closely with REMP from the beginning, creating a functional requirements specification that really concentrated on what we needed the system to do. The SSS is very flexible and capable of many things, but we were very focused on its need to support medicinal chemistry.”
REMP Small-Size Store.
Scripps Florida, a biomedical research institute, has a full-scale molecular screening facility similar to that now seen in many pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The Lead Identification Division within this facility uses the state-of-the-art REMP Small-Size Store (SSS) automated system for the management of its compound library, allowing easy access to stored compounds, automatic identification of samples by barcode, and the prevention of errors that might occur with manual operation.
“We have several different small orders totaling maybe 50, 100, or at most 1,000 compounds a week, coming from many different chemists who are not necessarily based at the Florida site, and the SSS does a fantastic job of supporting these efforts following high throughput screening. It allows us to store compounds, long term or short term, and, since the tubes can be punched out in any order, to access them quickly. Compounds are sent to us in many different formats, for example, glass vials or plastic tubes, so when a compound is requested the vial has to be located and reformatted. Once plated and sent to the scientist, the vial is returned to the freezer. Prior to the acquisition of the SSS about 18 months ago, compounds had to be processed manually and this was very labor intensive.” Currently Scripps uses the SSS to manage in the region of 10,000 compounds, although it has the capacity to manage considerably more. Peter continued: “We use the SSS in 96-tube format, since we need the ability to store large volumes of compound, and it has
The SSS offers fully automated sample management.
proved to be very flexible. The system knows unambiguously where each compound is and identifies samples by barcode, eliminating the potential for errors that exists with manual compound management systems. Software tracks and updates sample information on our corporate databases.” Scripps has fully integrated the SSS into its LIMS database using software that was developed in-house. Peter explained: “REMP offers help with the software if required, but also provides a very good package if software expertise is already available, and did a very good job of providing the software products we needed to integrate the system into our infrastructure.” Peter concluded: “What separates one company from another is how quickly it responds to your needs. REMP is very quick and does a good job. The SSS has proved to be very flexible, particularly with regard to its configuration, and labor intensity has been considerably reduced, freeing compound management staff for other activities.” For further information on The Scripps Research Institute, Florida, visit http://hts.florida.scripps.edu To find out more about Tecan’s REMP SSS, visit www.remp.com/sss
Liquid Handling TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
18 years old and still going strong The Justus-von-Liebig soil sampling laboratory in Bavaria has what is probably the oldest suite of Tecan instruments still in routine use – unless you can tell us otherwise! – and has been using it to test agricultural soil samples for almost twenty years.
The RSP MegaFlex has been a feature of the laboratory since 1992.
The Justus-von-Liebig soil sample laboratory in Rain am Lech, Bavaria, Germany, is part of Bodengesundheitsdienst GmbH, a subsidiary of Südzucker AG, and has been using Tecan’s automation technology to aid ELISA analysis of soil samples since 1992. The system consists of an RSP MegaFlex liquid handling platform, with a linear rack and AXS software, in combination with an SLT photometer and SLT washer. “We installed the system in the soil laboratory in May 1992,” remembers Ralf Rändler, a BioPharma sales manager at Tecan. “It was put into routine use immediately, and is still running reliably today.” Dr Konstantin Nowikow, head of the soil sampling laboratory, added: “Although our facility is a bit dated – it is even controlled using DOS-commands – it has been running without any problems for almost twenty years.” The Tecan system was originally used for the soil analysis on Rhizomania viruses, which are responsible for widespread disease in sugar beet crops and can cause dramatic reductions in crop yield, often by more than 50 %. Although Rhizomania-tolerant sugar beet varieties were available at the time, these were significantly more expensive than intolerant plants, and gave lower yields. It was therefore cost-effective to test soils for presence of the pathogen before planting, only using tolerant varieties if the results were positive for Rhizomania. “With a throughput of around 5,000 soil samples a year, the Tecan instrument was used to process over 40,000 samples for the presence of the virus,” continued Dr Nowikow. “Automation allowed us to significantly increase the productivity of our Rhizomania analysis, saving on staff time and reducing the need for laborious pipetting. The need for Rhizomania analysis ended in 2000 as high yield, Rhizomania-
tolerant plants became readily available at a cost comparable to non-tolerant varieties. However, this did not mean the end for the Tecan platform.” The system has been re-purposed to perform viral screening on behalf of the Bayrische Landesanstalt für Weinbau und Gartenbau (Bavarian Regional Office for Viniculture and Agriculture) in Veitshöchheim. “We now use the system to examine grape vine samples for viral infections using ELISA techniques, and these tests are particularly important for vine seed stocks,” explained laboratory shift supervisor Alfred Rehberger. Although the RSP set-up is still working reliably, Dr Nowikow and his team are planning on upgrading to the latest generation of Tecan liquid handling workstation, to expand the range of services the laboratory is able to offer. “We will go straight to Tecan when looking for a new automated platform, as we have always appreciated the level of service we receive. We plan to upgrade to a Freedom EVO® 100 workstation with a four-channel liquid handling arm, and this will give us the capacity to increase our services significantly.” Besides ELISA testing for viral screening, the Bodengesundheitsdienst GmbH offers a wide range of services, including PCR analyses for the detection of sugar beet nematodes and electro-ultrafiltration to determine the nutrient content of arable soils. The soil sampling laboratory currently processes around 60,000 samples each year, and upgrading to a Freedom EVO workstation will allow Dr Nowikow’s team to increase this throughput dramatically. To find out more about Tecan’s Freedom EVO workstations, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevo
We will go straight to Tecan when looking for a new automated platform, as we have always appreciated the level of service we receive.
Liquid Handling TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Award winning efficiency Pfizer’s BioBank facility in Connecticut, USA, has revolutionized its DNA extraction workflow thanks to the open architecture of its Freedom EVO® workstations. By redesigning its extraction processes from the ground up, the Company has managed to achieve a 10-fold increase in throughput, while dramatically reducing waste generation and costs.
Bob Corr receives Pfizer’s Green Chemistry Award.
Pfizer’s state-of-the-art research and development facility in Groton, Connecticut, is home to the DNA and BioFluids Center of Emphasis, a large biorepository responsible for processing and storing biological samples from the Company’s clinical research activities. Blood samples are sent to the BioBank from Pfizer’s research and clinical facilities around the world, where they are stored as both whole blood for long term archiving, and extracted DNA for downstream analysis by the Molecular Medicine group. The BioBank’s first generation DNA extraction process was initiated in 2006, and was designed to extract over 250 μg of DNA from aliquots of up to 9 ml whole blood. While semi-automated, this process involved a large number of manual processing steps, requiring considerable staff time and significantly increasing the risk of processing errors. This process was also very costly – at $8.34 a sample – and generated large volumes of biohazardous waste material. To address these issues, as well as to boost throughput to deal with an ever increasing workload, the BioBank team initiated a complete overhaul of its working practices. Bob Corr, Principal Scientist at the DNA and BioFluids Center of Emphasis, explained: “We were aware that the quantity of DNA required for downstream processing had decreased significantly since the inception of the first generation extraction process, and so held a workshop with the Molecular Medicine group to determine current DNA requirements. From this we concluded that, rather than the ~250 μg which was being extracted from each sample at the time, only 6 μg of extracted DNA was needed for short term scientific use (within three years), with further aliquots of whole blood held in long term storage, should additional DNA be required.”
“Once we had established these requirements, we looked at the various automated platforms and extraction technologies available on the market, and decided that Tecan’s Freedom EVO workstations were best suited to meet Pfizer’s needs. Our team has extensive experience with Tecan instruments, both within the BioBank and in other areas of Pfizer Research, so this was a logical choice for us. Tecan was kind enough to loan us a test platform for assessment of over a dozen commercial DNA extraction chemistries, and we eventually chose Beckman Coulter’s Agencourt® Genfind™ v2 System.” “This combination of a liquid handling platform and extraction technology allowed us to work in a 96-well microplate format, using just 300 μl of whole blood to yield the required 6-10 μg of DNA. We worked closely with application specialists from both companies to integrate the necessary Beckman Coulter hardware onto the Freedom EVO platform, program the Agencourt DNA extraction protocol into Freedom EVOware® and optimize the process to exactly meet our requirements. This three-way collaboration was a key element of the project, allowing us to develop and validate our automated process very rapidly.” “To further improve the efficiency of our laboratory, our entire laboratory workflow has been updated to reflect these changes in practice. The reduced volume requirements of the second generation DNA extraction protocol have allowed us to fully automate sample handling for both DNA extraction and long term whole blood storage, using a second Freedom EVO workstation to aliquot samples into 96-well plates for DNA extraction and REMP 96 Tube Technology™ plates for storage in our REMP Large-Size Store™. We have developed a series of
SAMPLE MANAGEMENT TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
The BioBank uses multiple Freedom EVO platforms to improve the efficiency of its workflow.
software applications in-house for control of sample registration, allowing this platform’s Freedom EVOware to communicate directly with our BioBank Sample Management System (BSMS) database. Barcode scanners mounted on each of the Freedom EVO workstations are able to identify each sample individually, eliminating the risk of errors and creating a comprehensive audit trail for every sample.” “Introduction of the second generation extraction protocol in early December has made a huge difference to our overall throughput, and the figures speak for themselves. Working with lower sample
volumes in a microplate format means we now process 96 samples in ~2 hours, compared to 11.5 hours using the old protocol, offering a four-fold increase in our daily throughput and eliminating the need to have overlapping shifts in the laboratory. The cost per sample has been reduced from $8.34 to $1.66, biohazard waste for 96 samples has gone down from 20 liters to just 295 ml, and we’ve made significant savings in storage space within the REMP stores. As a result of these advances, and of lowering our group’s impact on the environment, the BioBank team recently received Pfizer’s Green Chemistry Award for the project. However, we’re not resting on
our laurels, and are now working with Tecan to implement parallel processing of three microplates using the dynamic scheduling capabilities of Freedom EVOware Plus. This will increase our capacity to almost 1,000 samples a day, more than 10 times the throughput of our old method.” To find out more on Tecan’s Freedom EVO liquid handling platforms, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevo Agencourt is a registered trademark and Genfind is a trademark of Beckman Coulter, Inc.
VETERINARY DIAGNOSTICS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Sharing a successful formula Tecan’s Freedom EVO® platform is proving a valuable resource in the shared laboratory facilities of Vet Food Agro Diagnostics and Asia-Pacific Special Nutrients in Malaysia.
The Freedom EVO system is used extensively by both VFAD and APSN staff.
Vet Food Agro Diagnostics (M) Sdn Bhd (VFAD) and Asia-Pacific Special Nutrients Sdn Bhd (APSN) are sister companies based in Malaysia. APSN is a biotechnology R&D company specializing in animal health, food safety and agriculture. These areas of expertise are mirrored in sister company VFAD, a service laboratory which provides a wide range of screening and testing services to the veterinary, food, agriculture and agro-based industries across Southeast Asia. Both companies work very closely with local government authorities, such as the Malaysian Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), on the control and prevention of infectious animal diseases, as well as a variety of food safety programs. This work has led to numerous awards and recognitions, as well as development of a number of patent-pending inventions. The closely aligned interests of the two companies have allowed them to pool resources at their shared facility in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, including the purchase of a Freedom EVO workstation for use by both companies. Dr Tan Do Yew oversees operation of the Freedom EVO platform,
and explained how this joint resource is used: “Sharing laboratory space and equipment allows both companies to optimize their investment in state-ofthe-art scientific equipment, although this arrangement has its own unique set of complications. Automation is an obvious strategy to help cope with our high throughput demands, improving the laboratory’s workflow by allowing staff to perform multiple tasks in parallel. However, the complex and contrasting needs of contract testing services and R&D require a highly flexible automated solution. We first purchased our Freedom EVO workstation two years ago, after discussing our varied requirements with several manufacturers. Tecan was the only company able to provide the high level of flexibility we required, particularly the ability to integrate a variety of other instruments onto the worktable. In addition to liquid handling (LiHa) and robotic manipulator (RoMa) arms, our system has a Sunrise™ absorbance reader and a HydroFlex™ plate washer, as well as several plate hotels to increase the walkaway time for sample processing.”
FOOD ANALYSIS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
“Since installation, the system has been heavily used by both companies,” Dr Tan continued. “It is predominantly used by APSN for repetitive research activities such as large compound screening trials, which can be run overnight for increased productivity. In contrast, VFAD runs a broad range of assays on the platform, including numerous ELISA tests, such as the Synbiotics® range of kits for veterinary serological testing, and other commercial assays.” “We also perform a melamine assay, for which we have seen a large increase in demand since recent worldwide media
coverage,” added Mr Yip Jin Suey, the VFAD chemist responsible for automation of melamine testing. “This ELISA has been specifically developed for detection of melamine contamination in wheat gluten, pet food, milk and milk powder, and offers sensitivity comparable to LC-MS/MS testing. The kit manufacturer recommends that only 20 samples are processed per batch, due to the critical time constraints of the assay. However, the speed and efficiency of the automated protocol has allowed us to double the number of samples that can be processed per run, without loss of sensitivity.”
“Staff from both companies find the Freedom EVO workstation very easy to operate, and this has encouraged much wider use of the platform than we might have expected. The Freedom EVOware® control software makes it very easy for users to develop their own protocols and scripts, and we now routinely have several different programs scheduled to run concurrently.” To find out more on Tecan’s Veterinary and Food Analysis solutions, visit www.tecan.com/veterinary www.tecan.com/food Synbiotics is a registered trademark of Synbiotics Corporation.
Molecular structure of melamine. Automation allows multiple tasks to be performed in parallel, improving throughput.
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
New tools for drug discovery Cellular Dynamics in Wisconsin, USA, is using its Cellerity™ workstation for reliable culturing and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, helping to provide the pharmaceutical industry with advanced tools for drug discovery and toxicology testing.
CDI’s Chief Technology Officer, Nick Seay.
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) is a young biotechnology company based in Madison, WI, USA, developing stem cellbased technologies for the pharmaceutical industry. The Company provides terminally differentiated human cells to improve in vitro investigation of drug function and metabolism, and to accelerate drug discovery pipelines. CDI’s Chief Commercial Officer, Chris Parker, explained the Company’s approach: “Our primary focus is on inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for toxicology testing and drug discovery. We develop a range of technologies based on iPS cells, including production of terminally differentiated human cells. These cellular systems are superior to current cellular models for in vitro toxicology testing, because they feature the full functionality and metabolism of in vivo cells and provide more representative data
for in vitro toxicology testing of drugs. Our first product from iPS cells is human cardiomyocytes. Our iCell™ Cardiomyocytes have the same electrophysiological and biological properties as if they were in situ in the heart, including ‘spontaneous’ myogenic contraction.” Chris continued: “Having high quality iPS cells as the starting material is crucial to the outcome and optimization of our differentiation protocols and screens, and we are testing a Cellerity cell culture workstation from Tecan to help in this effort. Automation has the potential to remove human error and stabilize the culturing process, improving yield and uniformity of cells for further investigation. Having a large quantity of uniform cells is particularly important for differentiation protocols, as many of these methods are very inefficient
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
in terms of cell yield, producing only a few fully differentiated cells. The predictability automation provides is very advantageous from a manufacturing viewpoint, especially as we are studying various differentiation pathways and cell types.” Nick Seay, Chief Technology Officer, explained: “Our Cellerity platform allows us to combine reproducible cell culturing with both differentiation and screening processes on a single instrument. We use a 96-well microplate format, which provides higher throughput compared with the 6-well plates that are typically used for manual stem cell differentiation. We are still in the process of optimizing the many biological parameters of the process on the workstation, and so have not yet tested the capacity limits of our system. In addition to cardiomyocytes, we are now working on various other cell types of interest to toxicologists and drug discovery – such as neural and endothelial cells and hepatocytes – and automation fits perfectly with this, allowing parallel differentiation of numerous cell types. We are also adding new iPS cell lines to our catalogue, starting with blood samples from individuals or distinct population groups to create stem cells. This will allow research into the differing cell biology between individuals and the efficacy of drugs across diverse populations, in tissues such as heart, blood vessels or liver.” Chris added: “We are currently working on an ethnic diversity panel for cardiomyocytes, allowing the study of inter-ethnic variation in heart biology that could affect response to drugs. This kind of study could help to
improve treatment of patients in the future, individually tailoring therapy to improve efficacy and patient safety.” “In addition to improving the quality and consistency of our stem cell cultures, automation may give us new capabilities, allowing us to approach problems that would otherwise be impossible,” Nick continued. “We believe that the study of stem cell differentiation provides novel opportunities for drug discovery, and so we are very interested in having the ability to screen libraries of small molecules for their effects on cell differentiation processes. Our Cellerity system gives us this capability, allowing us to passage iPS cells through multiple generations, then differentiate them to become specialized cell types. We are now using this approach to explore the ways that small molecules may affect the differentiation process, and look forward to a time when these screens are performed entirely automatically.” For further information on Cellular Dynamics International, Inc., visit www.cellulardynamics.com To find out more on Tecan’s Cellerity workstations, visit www.tecan.com/cellerity iCell is a trademark of Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.
DETECTION TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
An astonishing screening capacity for kinetic studies The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology (WTCCB), University of Edinburgh, UK, relies on Tecan’s versatile range of microplate readers for kinetic studies to increase understanding of living systems at the molecular level. The WTCCB has a remarkable screening capacity for chemical genetic screens, owning twenty Sunrise™, four Infinite® F200s and one Infinite M200 plate reader.
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology (WTCCB) is one of nine UK-based Wellcome Trust Centres, and aims to advance knowledge of fundamental biological processes. Within the WTCCB, Mike Tyers’ group has established an automated screening facility able to perform kinetic studies and track growth rates over time for small molecule screens. To support these studies, the scientists use Sunrise microplate readers to take absorbance readings for kinetic studies and to establish growth curves, which are used to determine parameters such as growth rate, lag phase, time and saturation. The system, referred to as ‘The Wall’, was inspired by a similar microplate reader system in the Nislow and Giaever laboratories at the University of Toronto, Canada, and enables researchers to take readings over long time intervals with
minimal manual intervention. Advanced temperature control is an important feature of the system, heating every well separately to minimize inter-well variability and prevent condensation. Michaela Spitzer, a PhD student using the platform for chemical genetic screening, explained how the system is used: “We have libraries of compounds that inhibit yeast growth, for example, and use genetic methods to investigate their mode of action within the cell. Yeast deletion mutants are inoculated with various drugs in a 96-well plate, then absorbance readings are taken at 15 minute intervals. From the resulting growth curves we are able to determine if deletion mutants are more sensitive to a given drug than the control strain. Using a 96-well format increases sample
throughput and allows us to take readings for 24 or even 48 hours, if necessary. Previously this would have required staff to come into the laboratory at late hours to take readings and set up samples. Luckily those days are over, and the system has become increasingly popular with many laboratories within the Institute, for a wide range of applications requiring time resolved quantitative analysis.” Although the WTCCB’s Infinite systems have, so far, mainly been used for absorbance readings, they are also equipped for monitoring fluorescence-based inhibition assays. Rachel White, laboratory technician, said: “The optical density (OD) readouts from the Infinite and Sunrise machines are comparable, allowing the instruments to be used interchangeably for absorbance
DETECTION TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
studies, and we are in the process of optimizing our Infinite readers for our green fluorescent protein (GFP)-based screens. Use of 384-well plates for these studies will allow us to further extend the capacity of ‘The Wall’, and we also have the NanoQuant Plate™ accessory for low volume quantitation of DNA samples for cloning, microarray and deep sequencing.” Tecan’s Magellan™ software is used to control all the plate readers, simplifying analysis and enabling visualization of growth curves. Hille Tekotte, senior research associate, commented: “Magellan allows you to see the whole plate on the screen, and gives you the ability to overlay individual wells instantly. This allows us to compare different samples to each other, and to control strains during a run, meaning we can tell almost immediately whether an experiment is working or not.” The WTCCB’s major concern was fitting all the machines, and the computers to control them, into the available space, as well as the stability of the networked computers and software. To overcome this, 10 Sunrise readers are connected to a single desktop, controlled by one copy of Magellan. Jan Wildenhain, an E-science Data Information & Knowledge Transformation (eDIKT) research associate, explained: “We have purchased cards which enable us to use the Magellan software to control up to 16 plate readers from one PC. The system was straightforward to set up and we had no problems at all. It is very stable and reliable, and gives us the capability to do a lot of parallel reads without any performance issues. This is important to us because we screen large collections of mutants or compounds, and need to be able to do multiple simultaneous reads. The growth curves generated by the Magellan software allow us to study performance differences between screens, which would not be possible with the single reads of a standard plate reader, and we can screen up to 2,500 compounds simultaneously. Overall, Tecan’s instruments offer us the broadest range of features, as well as being the most costeffective solution on the market, and the Company provides good technical support, responding very quickly to our needs.” To find out more on Tecan’s detection instruments, visit www.tecan.com/detection
Laboratory technician Rachel White with ‘The Wall’.
Proliferating yeast cells.
PROTEIN SCIENCE TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Automated equilibrium dialysis for plasma protein binding analysis has used a Freedom EVO® workstation to develop a semi-automated high throughput equilibrium dialysis assay for plasma protein binding
At Johnson and Johnson’s Pharmaceutical Research and Development facility in Beerse, Belgium, the ADME-Tox department runs a range of in-house designed in vitro and in vivo screening assays of varying complexity, generating data to support drug discovery across several therapeutic areas. A significant part of the department’s workflow uses the Freedom EVO platform to deliver high quality ADME data. The use of physiologically-based models to predict human pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is becoming increasingly prevalent within the pharmaceutical industry. The binding affinity of candidate compounds for plasma proteins is a key parameter in these studies, requiring an accurate method for determination of plasma protein binding (PPB). Equilibrium dialysis is the most automation-friendly PPB technique, and the Beerse ADME-Tox group has developed, validated and implemented a high throughput PPB assay using the Pierce 48-well format Rapid Equilibrium Dialysis (RED) device. This microdialysis platform uses disposable inserts, and has two sideby-side chambers separated by a vertical cylinder of dialysis membrane. Following initial set-up, all the liquid handling steps of the semi-automated assay are performed on a Freedom EVO 200 workstation equipped with a liquid handling (LiHa) arm and a MultiChannel Arm™ 96 (MCA 96), and has a capacity of 32 plasma protein binding measurements per screen. Each assay uses triplicate incubations per measurement, and is fully flexible in terms of the number of compounds and plasma types that it can accommodate. Claire Mackie, Department Head for ADMETox, explained: “We have a variety of Tecan platforms which are used to automate our in vitro assays for high throughput ADME purposes. Our assays are typically based on a 96-well microplate format, screening from 10 or 12 compounds up to 100 compounds
at a time, depending on the complexity of the assay. The Freedom EVO 200s, which we use for 90 % of our work, are employed as standalone platforms for PPB analysis with the RED device, preparing samples for quantitative bioanalysis by liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC- MS/MS). The Freedom EVO transfers spiked plasma and buffer to the RED device, which is then sealed and incubated for four and a half hours in an offline incubator. During the incubation period, further automated procedures are carried out to prepare the calibration curves and quality control standards. After incubation, the RED device is returned to the Freedom EVO, where plasma and buffer sampling and protein precipitation are performed. The plate is then centrifuged prior to analysis by LC-MS/MS.” “The performance of the semi-automated assay is comparable with manual techniques and published literature values, and we have also implemented a test for measuring protein content in the buffer compartment, to confirm the integrity of each insert. From data produced in our laboratory over a six month period we estimate that, compared to a manual equilibrium dialysis assay, this semi-automated method can generate four times as much data with approximately half the resource costs.” Claire concluded: “We have invested a lot in staff training and the Tecan training courses have played a significant part in our achievements, helping us to take full advantage of all the features of the instrument when developing new protocols. Tecan offers a good local service and is very responsive, providing engineering support very quickly when it is needed.” To find out more on Tecan’s Protein Science solutions, visit www.tecan.com/proteinscience
Corporate News TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Show us how much you love your Tecan and win a party for your team!
Tecan is proud to have been a true pioneer in the liquid handling market for three decades, and we really hope you value your Tecan as much as we love making them for you.
Send us a photo that captures how important your system is to your team to be in with a chance of winning a huge party for you and 20 of your colleagues worth $5,000. The more creative you are the better, as the winning photo will be the one that convinces us your Tecan is the most treasured in the world. To enter, please go to www.tecan.com/weloveourtecan
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
DNA-based biomolecular computing Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel are using a Freedom EVO® platform to control DNA-based biomolecular computing.
The Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, uses a Freedom EVO platform to develop sophisticated DNA-based biomolecular computing systems capable of answering molecular ‘questions’. The team, led by Tom Ran, a PhD student, and Professor Ehud Shapiro, has previously developed DNA-based computing systems to detect cancerous RNA in a test tube and release a molecule to destroy it , but the current approach is different. Professor Shapiro explained: “We are using more sophisticated biochemistry and implementing simple logic programs, similar to programming electronic computers.” The Weizmann Institute’s molecular computing system uses DNA associated with a fluorescent molecule bound to a quencher, which prevents fluorescence. The computation is activated by a specialized
enzyme that recognizes the part of the molecule signifying the correct answer, removing the quencher and allowing the fluorescent light to shine. Using the Freedom EVO system, facts and rules are imported as a computer file, and turned into the DNA starting products of a query. This allows the Weizmann Institute scientists to use the DNA computer to answer basic questions. The team tested the system with simple logic problems, feeding the computer a molecular rule, such as ‘all men are mortal’, and a molecular fact, ‘Socrates is a man’, before asking the question ‘Is Socrates mortal?’ The DNA computer was able to answer this type of question correctly, and the team went on to ask more complex questions involving multiple rules and facts.
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Tom Ran explained: “We wanted to enable somebody who knew nothing about biology to operate the biomolecular computer, and this has been very successful.” Programs are written in normal sentences, which are translated into an assembly order for the Freedom EVO. Strands of DNA are placed in 96-well microplates, and the workstation dispenses the correct reagents into dedicated wells, compiling the molecular program. The plate is transferred to a microplate reader, where the reader’s injector adds the enzyme necessary to activate the computing system. Fluorescence output is monitored, and the computer arrives at the answer based on the observed fluorescence. If fluorescence is seen, the answer is yes, otherwise the answer is no.
Only the computation is done on a molecular level, so a regular user can write and use a basic program. The system can also be programmed to answer more complex questions that require something other than a simple yes or no answer. In these cases, several questions are asked in just one well of the 96-well plate, with the plate reader’s monochromators using several wavelengths to read the various different fluorophores and answer the questions. Tom added: “We chose Tecan because the system has open architecture, which allows us to develop our in-house language, and we could modify the scripts to suit our application.” The fully automated system used by the Weizmann Institute consists of
two Freedom EVOs which are connected to each other, one for liquid handling, the other for centrifugation and more complicated operations for real-time PCR. These are fully integrated with microplate readers, shakers, an incubator, a centrifuge and an electrophoresis machine.” Professor Shapiro concluded: “The development of the DNA computer involved a vast number of experiments and, without robotic support, we would not have finished this in our lifetime.” To find out more on Tecan’s Freedom EVO, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevo
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Faster sample preparation for tropical disease research The Clinical Pharmacology Department in the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Bangkok, has achieved huge time savings with its Freedom EVO® platform from Tecan, reducing time taken for sample preparation from five hours manually to just 20 minutes. This frees researchers for other studies and data analysis essential to advancing knowledge of how anti-malarial and anti-influenza drugs exert their effects. The Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Unit (MORU) is a collaborative partnership between Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, and the University of Oxford, UK, established with major funding from the Wellcome Trust in 1979. MORU aims to control infectious diseases in developing Asian and African countries, and to develop effective and practical diagnosis of malaria and other tropical diseases. MORU is based in the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University, and has three research departments focusing on malaria, microbiology and pharmacology. Most clinical studies take place at MORU field sites located close to rural communities affected by tropical diseases, and through
collaborations in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. Sample collection takes place at the study sites in the field, and samples are sent to Bangkok for analysis centrally. The Clinical Pharmacology Department, headed by Professor Niklas Lindegardh, specializes in bioanalysis of anti-infective drugs, and is one of the world’s leading centers for evaluation of anti-malarial and anti-influenza drugs. Professor Lindegardh explained: “Our studies focus on malaria and influenza, and the main thrust of our research is the development of new methods and assays to quantify these drugs in biological fluids, using samples
MORU’s Bangkok facility handles samples from across Southeast Asia.
sent from MORU study sites throughout Southeast Asia. We also collaborate with clinical research groups in the worldwide anti-malarial resistance network (WWARN) – as well as other groups in Asia, Africa, USA and Europe – to study novel pharmaceutical agents, including pharmacokinetic data analysis to better understand the metabolism and effects of drugs in vivo.” Professor Lindegardh continued: “Much of our work involves sample preparation from blood, urine or plasma, and these samples have to be aliquoted and cleaned before they can be used for quantitative drug screening. Our Freedom EVO liquid handling workstation performs aliquoting and preparation of these samples, automating a range of preparation methods, such as solid-phase or liquid-liquid extractions and protein precipitations. We have been able to move from performing all these steps manually to automating everything on the Freedom EVO 200. The main benefit of automation is the phenomenal time saving, given our annual throughput of 25,000 samples in our laboratory. We typically run between 200 and 500 samples daily, and manual analyses that took around five hours on a limited number of samples, now take only 20 minutes for 96 samples using the automated system. This releases staff to do other experiments or data analysis while the system is running.” “We bought the Freedom EVO workstation just over a year ago, and currently use it exclusively for sample preparation. The platform is equipped with an eight-channel
LIQUID HANDLING TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Influenza virus spreads to the lungs and chest.
liquid handling (LiHa) arm, a MultiChannel Arm™ 96 (MCA 96) with a gripper, and a Te-VacS™ module for vacuum separation. It also has a cooling block, a sample mixer and a solid-phase extraction module, all of which are essential for sample preparation. Although this set-up is sufficient for our current throughput needs, we have the potential to upgrade the system to use barcode scanning and integrated detection instruments, should the need arise.” “We discussed our requirements thoroughly with Tecan Singapore before purchasing the Freedom EVO system, and the platform configuration was tailored to fulfill our exact requirements. Once the platform was installed, we worked for three days with engineers from Tecan Singapore to set up the platform and program the basic structure of the process scripts, and ensure everything was functioning correctly. Since then, we have been able to refine the scripts through additions and modifications, creating new processes and fine tuning
The MORU team in Bangkok.
the system to accommodate our sample preparation requirements. Overall, the platform is reliable and we are very happy with the support we receive from Tecan in Singapore; they always respond quickly to our needs,” concluded Professor Lindegardh.
For further information on MORU, visit www.tropmedres.ac/home To find out more on Tecan’s Freedom EVO workstations, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevo
CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Checking out what’s checking in Scientists at the Animal, Plant and Foodstuffs Inspection Center in Tianjin, China, are using a Freedom EVOlyzer® workstation to help monitor livestock entering the municipality for the presence of infectious diseases.
The ADDL relies on the Freedom EVOlyzer to meet its high throughput demands.
The Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ) for Tianjin, China, is responsible for monitoring import and export of commodities, foodstuffs, plants and animals throughout the municipal area of the city of Tianjin. Founded in 2001, the CIQ’s Animal, Plant and Foodstuffs Inspection Center conducts a broad range of Entry-Exit monitoring activities, from pesticide residue detection in crops to pre- and post-quarantine testing for large animals. The Center’s Animal Disease Detection Laboratory (ADDL) is one of seven laboratories which carry out this screening, testing animals entering or leaving China
via the municipality’s ports for the presence of infectious diseases. This includes a wide variety of livestock – from chickens and ducks, to pigs and cattle – and results in a workload of almost 50,000 tests a year. In 2008, the ADDL decided to purchase an automated ELISA processing workstation to help meet its increasing demand for testing, as Mrs Wang Yulin, Vice Section Chief, explained: “We have a limited number of staff, and so purchasing a fully automated ELISA platform was a logical step. To help increase the laboratory’s throughput capacity, we were looking for a reliable
instrument with the longest possible walkaway time, however we still needed it to be consistent and accurate, due to the stringent testing requirements of our panel of ELISA assays. The variable nature of our work means that high throughput and flexibility were also very important considerations, and we evaluated systems from a number of manufacturers before choosing Tecan’s Freedom EVOlyzer platform.” The ADDL has a Freedom EVOlyzer 150 workstation equipped with an eightchannel LiHa pipetting arm, using washable
CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
fixed tips, and a RoMa arm for plate transportation. The platform also has both heated and room temperature incubators, a PosID™ barcode scanner, a HydroFlex™ plate washer and an integrated microplate reader, all controlled by Tecan’s Freedom EVOlution® software. The worktable is divided into sample loading, ELISA preparation and reagent storage areas, allowing up to 96 samples to be loaded at a time. Fresh or frozen serum samples are received in the laboratory in barcoded sample tubes, and can be loaded straight onto the platform. Samples are identified by the PosID scanner, then pipetted directly onto microplates in the ELISA processing area. The platform can handle up to nine reaction plates at a time, and can access nine different reagents and decontamination solutions during a single run, as required. The ADDL’s Freedom EVOlyzer is used to completely automate up to 30,000 tests a year – over half of the laboratory’s total testing workload – and staff hope to extend this capacity as new ELISA assays become available. The workstation is currently configured to perform a single ELISA test for all the samples in a run, processing around 440 samples per day with visuallyguided continuous loading. However, this strategy requires serum samples to be kept in refrigerated storage between assays, until all the required tests have been completed. “Our existing automated protocol is based on the laboratory’s standard operating procedure (SOP) for manual testing, only performing a single ELISA test for every sample in a run,” continued Mrs Wang. “However, each animal sample requires five or six different tests on average, and so we are considering developing a new protocol to allow multiple tests per sample per run. This would permit us to carry out all the
The Freedom EVOlyzer offers long walkaway times, allowing staff to concentrate on other tasks.
necessary tests for a given sample in a single run, significantly reducing our need for refrigerated sample storage. It would also increase our overall throughput, due to the parallel sample distribution capabilities of the Freedom EVOlyzer.” “Overall we are very happy with the Freedom EVOlyzer,” Mrs Wang’s colleague, Miss Xiao Yan, concluded. “It is very reliable, and the results are excellent. It saves us significant time, and gives us more confidence in the results we obtain. We are also happy with the service and support we have received since purchasing the system. An engineer is always available when needed, although we don’t need them frequently.” To find out more about Tecan’s Freedom EVOlyzer, visit www.tecan.com/freedomevolyzer
CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Pre-analytics made even easier Gruppo MultiMedica has been using Tecan’s FE500 preanalytical workstation to provide automated sample sorting and processing since October 2003, and has now upgraded to the FE500pro™ for even greater flexibility.
Error-free sample processing ensures peace of mind for the technical team.
Gruppo MultiMedica is a healthcare provider based in Milan, Italy, which provides clinical and primary care services to the city and surrounding areas through its four hospitals and multiple walk-in centers. The Group’s laboratory facilities, directed by Dr Ermanno Longhi, perform a wide range of biochemistry, serology, hematology and microbiology tests for diagnostics, as well as maintaining an extensive program of focused clinical research. The clinical diagnostics
service runs over two million tests a year, and uses a variety of automated laboratory systems to help meet its high throughput demands. Maurizio Ghiraldini, head of technical staff, explained: “Automation is vital to achieving the throughput requirements of our laboratory. High sample numbers, combined with limited staffing, mean that we must rely on robust automated processes to ensure prompt analysis and reporting of results, as these may be crucial to a patient’s care.”
TALK TO TECAN TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
“In addition to automation of analytical processes, efficient pre-analytical sample sorting and secondary tube generation is an important aspect of this strategy, preventing a bottleneck as samples come into the laboratory. This requires a reliable automated system capable of effectively cataloging and organizing all the samples on arrival. We originally started using Tecan’s FE500 front-end platform for this task in 2003, and this system was perfectly matched to our throughput and sample sorting requirements. We receive samples in barcoded primary tubes from a variety of sources – including hospitals, clinics and doctors’ surgeries – and the FE500 is able to communicate directly with our LIMS to determine the testing requirements for each sample. We were very impressed with the performance of the FE500 system, and have recently upgraded to the FE500pro. The new platform builds on the strengths of the previous system, while offering even greater ease-of-use and reliability. It also has a number of new safety features to maximize operator safety, and report generation has been made easier. Installation of this new instrument was straightforward, and the high level of support we receive from Tecan has made the transition to the new platform even easier.” To find out more on Tecan’s FE500pro, visit www.tecan.com/fe500pro
Peter Siesel, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tecan US
Leading the debate Flexibility has long been an important buzzword in our industry and Tecan recognized its significance early on. Regardless of the product, we have succeeded in chasing the continually moving bottlenecks, usually at the cutting edge of scientific research. And, by solving those areas that need to be streamlined or accelerated, we have defined that flexibility means more than what can be done today, but also what might need to be done tomorrow. But what does the immediate future hold for flexibility? While Tecan started as an engineering company, over the years it has adapted to integrate scientific disciplines into its corporate culture and product solutions. Whatever the application, we are now in the enviable position to manage bottlenecks because we understand scientists‘ specific needs and can even anticipate them, streamlining processes in real time. It’s also because of our structure, in the sense that we’re both global and very close to a broad scope of customers, that we can be very quick to react to changes in the industry. Currently, we are seeing two trends in the industry. Firstly, customers want and need more turn-key solutions. The trend towards more, faster and better results has driven us to create desirable application packages based on our unmatched flexible platforms. The innovative NanoQuant™ plate, for example, solves the need for rapid and precise low volume DNA quantification on a diverse multimode microplate reader. Another example is our recently released Freedom EVOware® software wizard for bioprocessing applications, which enables scientists to automate very complex applications using the tools and the language they have mastered in their discipline. The other trend is in basic research, where there is always a need for the latest and most powerful research tool. Whether that’s a multimode plate reader, or a liquid handler that can switch from a single pipetting channel to 384 pipetting channels, we still have that basic flexibility inherent in all our instruments. This flexibility is the key to enabling us to develop solutions, offering our customers a myriad of possibilities.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you think about our product and application-biased flexibility or any other life science topic of your choice.
EVENTS 2010 TECAN JOURNAL 2/2010
Meet Tecan at these events from now until September of this year Americas AACC American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting 2010
25 – 29 July 2010
The 9th International BioExpo
30 June – 02 July 2010
Protein Expressions Workshop 2010
27 – 30 July 2010
Analytica China 2010
15 – 17 Sept 2010
26 Sept – 01 Oct 2010
6th Annual BioProcess: International European Conference & Exhibition
19 – 20 May 2010
Spring Meeting in Pathology
19 – 21 May 2010
REMP User Meeting
20 May 2010
2nd European Chemical Biology (ECBS) Meeting
Prague, Czech Republic
20 – 21 May 2010
Advances in Microarray Technology (AMT) conference
25 – 26 May 2010
6th MEDIKOS Fair
Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo
27 – 29 May 2010
Forum LABO & Biotech 2010
01 – 04 June 2010
4th CRTD Summer Conference on Regenerative Medicine
11 June 2010
European Human Genetics (ESHG) Conference
12 – 15 June 2010
Lipid Oxidation Human Diseases and Aging
16 – 18 June 2010
3rd International Congress on Stem Cells and Tissue Formation
11 – 14 July 2010
01 – 03 Sept 2010
Asia and Pacific
Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Tecan Journal, Customer Magazine of Tecan Trading AG., ISSN 1660-5276 Design: OTM/London www.otmcreate.com Photography: Marc Wetli/Zürich www.wetli.com, Günter Bolzern/Zürich www.bolzern.net, Susanne Völlm/Zürich www.susannevoellm.ch Editor in Chief: Tecan Trading AG, Cornelia Kegele Project Lead: Tecan Trading AG, Cornelia Kegele/Aline Weiss Editor: kdm/UK www.kdm-communications.com Print: DAZ Druckerei Albisrieden AG/Zurich www.daz.ch Address: Tecan Trading AG, Marketing Communications, Seestrasse 103, CH-8708 Männedorf, Switzerland, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tecan.com Tecan Group Ltd. makes every effort to include accurate and up-to-date information within this publication, however, it is possible that omissions or errors might have occurred. Tecan Group Ltd. cannot, therefore, make any representations or warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this publication. Changes in this publication can be made at any time without notice. All mentioned trademarks are protected by law.
www.tecan.com For technical details and detailed procedures of the specifications provided in this document please contact your Tecan representative. This journal may contain reference to applications and products which are not available in all markets. Please check with your local sales representative: www.tecan.com/contact Tecan, Freedom EVO, Freedom EVOlyzer, Freedom EVOware and Infinite are registered trademarks, and Freedom EVOlution, HydroFlex, Instant Pipetting, Magellan, MultiChannel Arm, PosID, Sunrise, Te-VacS, FE500pro, Cellerity, Quad4 Monochromators, NanoQuant Plate and TouchTools Suite are trademarks of Tecan Group Ltd., Männedorf, Switzerland. REMP is a registered trademark and REMP Large-Size Store, REMP Small-Size Store and REMP 96 Tube Technology are trademarks of REMP AG, Oberdiessbach, Switzerland. © 2010 Tecan Trading AG, Switzerland, all rights reserved. To register for Tecan Journal please go to www.tecan.com/journal
Published on May 8, 2010
Published on May 8, 2010
This issue of the Tecan Journal celebrates the innovation and trail-blazing thinking that has kept Tecan at the forefront of laboratory auto...