Enough with the labels

Tecan and ForteBio automate label-free assays for bioprocess and drug discovery applications

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MÄNNEDORF, Switzerland—With the design of its Freedom EVOdeck extension plate for the Octet 384 platform from Menlo Park, Calif.-basedForteBio, Tecan has become ForteBio's preferred automation partner forreal-time, label-free assays to support bioprocess and drug discoveryworkflows.
"We've had a lot of common projects with Tecan before, andwe present together at conference presentations, workshops and on-sitedemonstrations, so we've worked closely together before, and this is more aprocess of making formal the preferred relationship we have with them," saysChristopher Silva, ForteBio's vice president of marketing. ForteBio also hasofficial 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 tointegrate the new ForteBio Octet 384 platform, consisting of the Octet RED384and the Octet QK384, on Tecan's Freedom EVO liquid handling workstation. Theresult is what they call "a robust, off-the-shelf integration that offersincreased walkaway time and optional liquid handling for assay plate set-up."
Tecan had designed a Freedom EVO deck extension plate tomount the Octet 384 instrument securely on the right hand side of theworkstation. A robotic manipulator arm performs automated transport and handlingof plates and sensor trays, and an 8-channel liquid handling arm with fixed ordisposable tips is used to prepare assay plates. A MultiChannel Arm (MCA), witha 384- or 96-channel pipetting head, can also be specified for higherthroughput applications.
"Within the drug discovery and development process, Octetsystem users find their workflow is faster, more efficient and morecost-effective than using traditional methods," Silva says. "The large numbersof samples to be screened and the assay workflow—including the liquid handlingsteps—can be automated on the Octet 384 systems such as using Tecan platforms.These systems have been designed with an open architecture that enablesintegration with robotic systems. In the Octet RED384 and the Octet QK384, theOctet platform offers two automation-capable systems that provide rapid resultsand complete walk-away screening for thousands of samples and bindinginteractions."
In the label-free space, no other systems have beenintegrated into robotic platforms in a larger way like this, Silva maintains.
"We feel fortunate to be playing in this space at this timesince label-free is becoming so much more important," he says. "People havefound with a lot of high-throughput options, it hasn't really translated tomore compounds in the clinics, and people are looking perhaps to label-free toperhaps be the next enabler to help change things."
"We are very pleased to be working with ForteBio to bring anautomation solution to customers in this fast growing area of label-freedetection," says Kevin Moore, Tecan's director of market and applicationmanagement for biopharma.
ForteBio's Octet platform enables reliable high-throughputmeasurements for protein-protein, protein-peptide, protein-small molecule and fragmentscreening assays, using the innovative Dip and Read biosensors. The Octetsystems 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 asprotein expression monitoring; clone selection and Titer screening; hybridomascreening; epitope mapping, binning and cross-blocking; off-rate screening forantibody ranking; immunogenicity monitoring; and small molecule and fragmentscreening.

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