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PerkinElmer Fattens Cell-Based Assay Catalog With Six New SureFire Kits

PerkinElmer this week launched six new AlphaScreen SureFire assay kits to help researchers detect full-length kinase activation in cell lysates and complex sample types.
According to the company, researchers can use the kits to measure kinase-mediated inflammatory and immune responses and quantify cellular growth and cytotoxicity.
This launch is consistent with PerkinElmer’s recent efforts to increase its investment in the cell-based assay market, Sara Howland, global product leader for biodiscovery at PerkinElmer, told CBA News this week.
The new kits bring to 28 the number of AlphaScreen SureFire kits PerkinElmer currently sells. The six new products are Phospho-Caspase 9 (Ser196), Phospho-NF-kB p65 (Ser536), Phospho-mTOR (Ser2481), Phospho-IkBa (Ser32/Ser36), Phospho-IKKa (Ser176/Ser180), and Phospho-IKKb (Ser177/Ser181).
Howland added that the company plans to introduce at least six new kits per quarter to address the principal main cellular pathways.
“We have a wealth of internal expertise to develop and support our growing portfolio of cell-based assays, and we plan to aggressively expand our portfolio of products,” said Howland.
She also said that PerkinElmer will continue to partner with vendors that have complementary cellular technologies that are of interest to its customers.
“We have been addressing the biochemical kinase market,” Howland said. “However, our customers are starting to move to more endogenous, physiologically relevant targets.”
She added that the cellular kinase market is currently showing double-digit growth “driven by the need for our customers to generate more physiologically relevant data.”
Howland also said that other technologies on the market, such as TR-FRET, only allow investigators to work with biochemical assays, purified kinases, or highly engineered cell lines. “The unique aspect of this technology is that it allows you to work with primary cells and measure endogenous proteins that have not been artificially modified.” Howland said.
Customers wanted to take this technology into a high-throughput format, so they always had to complete a wash step, said Howland. “It was difficult, up until now, for them to automate these assays.” 
New Kits on the Block
According to Howland, PerkinElmer’s recent collaboration with Amgen provides a good example of the ease with which SureFire technology allows scientists to automate their cellular assays.
Amgen scientists published a paper in the February issue of Assay and Drug Development Technologies describing how they switched to PerkinElmer’s SureFire Phospho-STAT5 assay from Luminex’ platform — one of PerkinElmer’s principal rivals in the field — and were able to make this a high-throughput assay.
The Amgen researchers used PerkinElmer’s assay format to evaluate EPO-induced STAT5 phosphorylation in human erythroleukemia cells, and complete a small-scale screening campaign to identify inhibitors of this event. Their findings indicated that the SureFire pSTAT5 assay is a robust assay format that is amenable to high-throughput screening applications.
“We are investing heavily to rapidly expand our portfolio of immunoassay-based kits to address the needs of our customers that want to monitor key cellular pathways in a simple, no-wash format,” she said, referring to the washing required by the Luminex platform that Amgen originally tried, as described in the Assay and Drug Development Technologies paper.
Although the AlphaScreen SureFire technology is focused on kinases and phosphoproteins, “we are also working on things like biomarkers and other cellular pathways,” said Howland. “This is definitely a product line where you will see a lot of launches [by PerkinElmer] in different therapeutic areas and different cellular targets.”

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