PRAGUE, Czech Republic—Cellectricon has identified a need for speed in the cell-based assay market.
Michal Tokarz, a project manager at Cellectricon, told CBA News this week here at Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s High-Content Analysis Europe meeting that “in the future, the need will arise for fast perfusion” in the field.
That, he said, will allow the neutral buffer that surrounds cells to be switched quickly “and this could lead to a reagent that contains a compound that interacts with the cell. Then the compound is removed, but not the buffer, and you see how the cell reacts.” This differs from current cell-based assays in which cells are exposed to the compound for a period of at least 30 minutes.
Tokarz said that talks at the conference indicated that “people have what they need in terms of plate readers and so forth. The available plate readers are very versatile and they deliver the tools that people currently need.”
However, he said, the limitation of doing everything in microtiter plates is that the rates of fluid exchange are very slow. He said that his company is looking to develop an alternative technology.
Tokarz noted that most of the work presented at the meeting involved exposure times of cells to compounds on the order of 30 minutes or so. “We would like to provide customers with shorter, well-controlled exposure times,” he said.
Tokarz said the meeting pointed toward an opportunity for Cellectricon’s Cellaxess electroporation system, because many presenters spoke of transfecting cells in different ways.
”We would like to provide customers with shorter, well-controlled exposure times.”
Cellectricon announced two weeks ago that it has tapped the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland to evaluate the Cellaxess-HT, its next-generation high-throughput electroporation system. The company claims the Cellaxess-HT is the first such system to be designed for genome-wide RNAi screening (see CBA News 9/14/07).
The company also said that the Cellaxess-HT, which it plans to launch in the second quarter of next year, will be the only fully automated, robotic system on the market that allows for the high-throughput electroporation of cells in culture directly in 384-well microplates.
The presentations here validated the need for Cellectricon’s high-throughput version of Cellaxess. However, Tokarz said that he came to Prague to assess the need for new technology that combines fluorescent assays with the technology that Cellectricon licensed exclusively to Axon Instruments back in 2003, which allows compounds to be rapidly transfected into cells. “So far though, we have found not been able to find out much, though, about the need for such a system,” he said.
The timetable for the development of such a technology remains fluid and is dependent on the needs of customers, Tokarz said. He also said that the company will reevaluate market demand and project status at the end of the year.