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At SBS, PerkinElmer, Thermo Fisher, Cisbio Unveil Cell-Based Assay Tools

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ST. LOUIS — PerkinElmer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Cisbio were among several companies that launched new cell-based products and debuted extensions or upgrades to existing cell-based platforms at the Society for Biomolecular Sciences’ annual meeting, held here this week.
 
Also at the meeting, Panasonic and DiscoveRx announced a new collaboration and a new service, respectively.
 
X Marks the Spot
 
PerkinElmer debuted Victor X, the latest version of the firm’s line of benchtop multilabel detection instruments. The product features an enhanced software package with an improved “Start Wizard” for protocol development; application-based example protocols for “off-the-shelf” use; and improved kinetics support for monitoring cellular and enzyme assays in real time, according to Richard Eglen, president of PerkinElmer’s biodiscovery unit.
 
PerkinElmer also launched its PhotoScreen Photina cell lines, which are chimeric photoproteins generated from obelin and clytin, and can be used to measure calcium from Gq-, Gs-, and Gi-coupled receptors, as well as calcium-coupled ion channels and transporters.
 
This is the first product to come out of an agreement that PerkinElmer signed last year with Milan, Italy-based Axxam (see CBA News, 5/25/07).
 
At the time, Axxam announced a plan to collaborate with PerkinElmer to research and develop GPCR and ion-channel cell lines based on its Photina technology for use in high-throughput screening and compound-profiling applications.
 
The deal also made PerkinElmer the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Photina technology, thereby strengthening its position in the GPCR screening market, Eglen told CBA News at the time.
 
At SBS, PerkinElmer also launched its new Columbus Gallery workstation and software designed to help visualize data from the PerkinElmer Opera high-content screening platform.
 
Liquid-Handling and Micronuclei
 
Also at the meeting, Thermo Fisher Scientific launched a new liquid-handling module for its ArrayScan VTI high-content reader. 
 
According to Mark Collins, Thermo’s marketing manager for high-content cellular imaging and analysis, the module features dispense-while-imaging capability, kinetic image capture, and a range of image-analysis algorithms. The module also features multiple aspirate/dispense options.
 
Thermo Fisher also introduced its Micronucleus v3.0 BioApplication for high-content screening, a product that enables scientists to automatically detect MN formation, providing them with a more productive method for screening compounds earlier in the drug-discovery process, Collins said.
 
At the meeting, Thermo Fisher’s Dharmacon unit launched its Accell siRNA reagents, which are designed for uptake by any cell type without a separate delivery agent and minimal perturbation, the company said.
 
Terbium     
 
Cisbio launched its IP-One terbium and cAMP Tb, which are the first products in its second-generation homogenous time-resolved fluorescence technology pipeline to incorporate the Lumi4-Tb cryptate for enhanced screening performance, according to a company official.
 
Francois Degorce, Cisbio’s head of HTRF marketing, told CBA News that Lumi4-Tb, a terbium cryptate developed by Lumiphore and licensed exclusively to Cisbio for drug discovery, is the newest member of Cisbio’s family of cryptates on which HTRF chemistry is based (see CBA News, 9/14/07).
 

“As you can develop the cell lines, we will grow the service.”

Last September, Cisbio announced plans to incorporate Lumi4 into its entire product catalog by replacing its currently used fluorophore with Lumi4 to “the greatest extent possible,” according to Lumiphore’s chief operating officer, Willem Spiegel.
 
The Lumi4 technology is a lanthanide-based fluorescent molecule that was developed in Ken Raymond’s lab at the University of California, Berkeley.
 
Nathaniel Butlin, then a senior scientist at Lumiphore and now the company’s CSO, said at the time that Cisbio’s HTRF technology is based on a europium lanthanide. Lumiphore’s technology uses terbium instead, and offers a brighter signal and better stability than europium.
 
In a follow-up e-mail to CBA News, Butlin said, “Lumi4 is a Tb-based fluorophore that is distinguished from other Tb-based molecules due to its unique sensitizing structure that combines high solubility and stability with exceptional brightness.”
 
Degorce told CBA News this week that Cisbio is currently working on strengthening its competencies in GPCR, kinase, and biomarker screening.
 
At Your Service
 
DiscoveRx launched its profiling and assay development services for GPCR, nuclear hormone receptors, and orphan GPCRs. Theresa Schaub, the director of drug-discovery services for DiscoveRx, told CBA News in an interview at the show that this screening service will cover the whole drug-discovery pipeline, from primary and secondary screening through to selectivity and structure-activity relationship analysis.
 
She said it will also look at all types of pharmacologies, including agonists, antagonists, and inverse agonists.
 
DiscoveRx is looking to continue to develop this service, Schaub said. “As you can develop the cell lines, we will grow the service.” 
 
Schaub predicted that DiscoveRx’s screening service will grow because the company has seen an increase in outsourcing of screening by big and small drug makers alike.
 
Picture Perfect
 
Panasonic and Kalypsys announced this week a joint commercialization agreement to enhance the sales, marketing, and application support in North America for a next-generation high-throughout screening platform that the companies have been co-developing since September 2006 (see CBA News, 9/8/06).
 
The instrument, a prototype of which debuted at SBS, will include a module size that is compactly standardized; features designed to reduce edge effect and prevent dispense-nozzle clogging; and an assay data-management system. It will also include a bidirectional conveyor belt that is capable of 1 min/1,536-well plate throughput with high data integrity.
 
Terms of the marketing deal call for Panasonic to market, sell, and maintain the systems, Nicole Koretsky, an account manager for laboratory automation for Panasonic, told CBA News.
 
In exchange, Kalypsys will furnish application solutions based on its background in drug discovery, and will receive royalties on product sales.

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