Solutions Spotlight

YAMAHA CELL HANDLER, an automated, rapid spheroid/organoid picking & imaging system for screening

Monday, February 5
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Location: Exhibition Theater

CELL HANDLER enables automated one-by-one selection of single cells or multicellular 3D spheroids and transfers them to a microplate (e.g. 384-well), while simultaneously capturing and digitalizing images before picking and after transfer. Conventional manual methods have been hampered by low throughput and suboptimal accuracy. The CELL HANDLER is filling the gap for scale up in the expanding market for isolating and utilizing single cells or 3D multicellular spheroids, including iPS cells and tissue organoids. In cancer research, testing on 3D spheroids is becoming more prevalent as they more closely mimic the environment associated with tumors. 3D can enhance the cellular testing for basic biological research as well as for development of novel therapeutics. Moreover, there is a growing demand for improving the quality and efficiency of anti-cancer agent sensitivity and biomarker testing on spheroids derived from primary cancers. However, current precision medicine tests to evaluate the various anti-cancer agents against cancer spheroids require significant time, cost and labor. The CELL HANDLER greatly increases the throughput of multi-cellular 3D cultures for, among others, drug screening or genomic library screening. In other words, this platform will greatly improve the throughput, reliability and costs of these methods.
Using the Yamaha Motor's applied industrial robot technologies, an ultra high-speed and high-precision pick and place technology was designed and coupled to image capture and analysis capability. A unique and specialized disposable tip and chamber were developed for the CELL HANDLER system to gently handle even small or fragile cells. Imaging after placing has demonstrated high transfer efficiency and builds in a critical quality control step for spheroid number, size and shape. In addition to this newly released hardware, Yamaha Motor is also pursuing development of CELL HANDLER applications. It aims to significantly contribute to personalized medicine, primary cell research, cell therapies and the discovery of novel drugs and drug targets.

Kazunori Kochiya

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Ron de Jong

Currently, Ron de Jong consults for biotech and pharma companies. He is a scientific leader with 20 years of industry experience in cellular pharmacology, drug discovery and preclinical drug development of small molecule drug candidates against various target classes and in multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to consulting, he was employed by Takeda California, first as Principal Scientist and later as Director of Cellular Pharmacology. Both as a cell biology expert and drug discovery team leader, he supported multiple successful drug discovery projects that produced clinical candidates, including three drugs that have entered clinical trials for oncology indications. Under his leadership, cellular pharmacology teams developed and conducted phenotypic and target engagement cell-based assays for drug screening and target validation as well as ex vivo pharmacodynamic assays. He obtained his BSc degree from the University of Leiden and his PhD degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Hubrecht Laboratory/University of Utrecht, both in The Netherlands. Before joining Syrrx, which was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2005, he worked at Idun Pharmaceuticals where he supported the AKT kinase inhibitor program with in vitro and cellular assays and in vivo testing.

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YAMAHA CELL HANDLER, an automated, rapid spheroid/organoid picking & imaging system for screening



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