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Aurora Completes Installation of High-Throughput Platform for Bristol-Myers Squibb

NEW YORK, Dec 21 - Aurora Biosciences said Thursday that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute has validated Aurora’s ultra-high throughput screening system, the UHTSS Platform.

This is the first time one of Aurora’s development partners has validated a complete UHTSS Platform, the company said.

The completed installation is “the culmination of four years of work” between Aurora and several industrial partners in a collaborative research effort to develop the UHTSS Platform, said Doug Farrell, senior director of investor relations and corporate communications at Aurora.

Farrell declined to disclose the financial terms of the research collaborations.

The final module of the UHTSS Platform integrates the system’s previously installed compound storage, plate formatting, and screening modules. The module includes a master database for analyzing, storing, and integrating data from ultra-high throughput screening efforts and relating it to other sources of information, such as compound libraries and genetic targets.

" Aurora's innovative UHTSS Platform will provide a significant enhancement to our drug discovery process and help us achieve our research goals," John G. Houston, vice president of lead discovery and early discovery chemistry at Bristol - Myers Squibb, said in a statement.

The UHTSS Platform combines compound management, plate replication, assay preparation, hit identification, selection and re-tests of the hits, fluorescence detection and data analysis into an integrated and automated system.

According to Aurora, its NanoWell Assay Plate, which offers 3,456 wells in a standard microplate footprint, is the key to the system’s ultra-high throughput capability.

The combination of assay miniaturization, microfluidics, fluorescence detection and automation results in a ten-fold increase in efficiency over conventional high-throughput screening methods and a similar reduction in costs, the company said.

Farrell is confident that Aurora’s other partners, who include Merck and Pfizer, will approve the final system.

While Aurora may take on new partners in its research collaboration, it is shifting its focus toward its own drug discovery efforts, Farrell said. The company completed the installation of an in-house UHTSS Platform in October to advance this process.

“The last four years have been about building these state-of-the-art systems,” he said. “The future is using these instruments to accelerate drug discovery.”

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