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Enough with the labels
April 2010
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


MÄNNEDORF, Switzerland—With the design of its Freedom EVO deck extension plate for the Octet 384 platform from Menlo Park, Calif.-based ForteBio, Tecan has become ForteBio's preferred automation partner for real-time, label-free assays to support bioprocess and drug discovery workflows.  
"We've had a lot of common projects with Tecan before, and we present together at conference presentations, workshops and on-site demonstrations, so we've worked closely together before, and this is more a process of making formal the preferred relationship we have with them," says Christopher Silva, ForteBio's vice president of marketing. ForteBio also has official automation partnerships with Hamilton Robotics and Hudson Robotics, though Tecan is the first to earn the "preferred" moniker.  
In this case, the two companies have worked together to integrate the new ForteBio Octet 384 platform, consisting of the Octet RED384 and the Octet QK384, on Tecan's Freedom EVO liquid handling workstation. The result is what they call "a robust, off-the-shelf integration that offers increased walkaway time and optional liquid handling for assay plate set-up."  
Tecan had designed a Freedom EVO deck extension plate to mount the Octet 384 instrument securely on the right hand side of the workstation. A robotic manipulator arm performs automated transport and handling of plates and sensor trays, and an 8-channel liquid handling arm with fixed or disposable tips is used to prepare assay plates. A MultiChannel Arm (MCA), with a 384- or 96-channel pipetting head, can also be specified for higher throughput applications.  
"Within the drug discovery and development process, Octet system users find their workflow is faster, more efficient and more cost-effective than using traditional methods," Silva says. "The large numbers of samples to be screened and the assay workflow—including the liquid handling steps—can be automated on the Octet 384 systems such as using Tecan platforms. These systems have been designed with an open architecture that enables integration with robotic systems. In the Octet RED384 and the Octet QK384, the Octet platform offers two automation-capable systems that provide rapid results and complete walk-away screening for thousands of samples and binding interactions."
In the label-free space, no other systems have been integrated into robotic platforms in a larger way like this, Silva maintains.  
"We feel fortunate to be playing in this space at this time since label-free is becoming so much more important," he says. "People have found with a lot of high-throughput options, it hasn't really translated to more compounds in the clinics, and people are looking perhaps to label-free to perhaps be the next enabler to help change things."  
"We are very pleased to be working with ForteBio to bring an automation solution to customers in this fast growing area of label-free detection," says Kevin Moore, Tecan's director of market and application management for biopharma.  
ForteBio's Octet platform enables reliable high-throughput measurements for protein-protein, protein-peptide, protein-small molecule and fragment screening assays, using the innovative Dip and Read biosensors. The Octet systems use proprietary biolayer interferometry (BLI) to provide real-time, label-free analysis of biomolecular interactions.  
Silva notes that Octet has high utility in such areas as protein expression monitoring; clone selection and Titer screening; hybridoma screening; epitope mapping, binning and cross-blocking; off-rate screening for antibody ranking; immunogenicity monitoring; and small molecule and fragment screening.
Code: E041008



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