Category: Assay Development and Screening

1364-E - Reducing the burden on cell culture services by implementing a turn-key automation system

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Maintaining multiple cell lines in a busy cell culture facility can lead to long working hours, variability in the quality of cells produced, a lack of consistency in experimental performance, and an increased risk of contamination events.  The aim of this poster was to evaluate whether implementation of cell culture automation could improve the quality and productivity of cell culture operations. Manual cell culture processes were transferred to an automated platform, the Compact SelecT. The system was used to monitor cell growth, passage cells to new flasks, and seed cells into assay-ready plates. Assay results were compared between cells produced using both manual and automated cell culture processes, and a number of quality and throughput metrics were monitored.

Assays performed using cells from the automated consistently displayed a higher Z’ score and considerably less variation in responses from control wells. Data shows outlier detection fell from 4% for manually prepared plates to just 0.6% for plates prepared using the robotic cell culture system. Tracking cell viability of different cell line at each harvest performed during a twelve month period showed the automation was capable of maintaining high cell viabilities across a range of cell lines for prolonged periods of time. Compound potencies for two separate assays performed using two different assay technologies demonstrated the equivalency of assay result. By tracking the number of flasks, assay plates or cell banking cryovials delivered by the system over the course of one year a 43% increase in output was achieved using robotic cell culture in comparison to the equivalent manual operation. At the same time a 92% reduction in contamination events was observed.

To conclude, cell culture automation can significantly improve the productivity of busy cell culture facilities. Live cell assays performed using cells from the system were of a higher quality than those prepared using manual techniques and produced results consistent with those derived from manual cell culture.

Dave Thomas

Product Manager
Royston, England, United Kingdom

Dave Thomas is a Product Manager at Sartorius with responsibility for managing the automated cell culture platforms. He has a background in cell biology basic research and experience working in small biotech, large pharma, and contract research organisations where he was involved in assay development, screening, and automation projects. At TAP Biosystems (now part of the Sartorius Stedim Biotech Group), he initially provided application support for their cell culture portfolio before acquiring responsibility for managing the strategic and tactical activities related to these products.