Automation and High-Throughput Technologies
Screening Automation: Modular vs. Highly integrated systems
Large, ultra-high throughput screening systems can lead to an overreliance on simple assays and deny screening access to those with lower throughput needs. There is a temptation to forego slower, complex assays in favor of ones more amenable to HTS and to pursue familiar target families that “plug-in” to know platforms. HTS facilities, sometimes siloed within a department, are often unavailable even to those working in an HTS capable organization. As a result, some organizations have turned to multiple smaller systems designed for small-scale screening. However, data and compound management issues arise in this decentralized approach. Compound spotted assay plates, created by acoustic compound transfer platforms, can mitigate these issues. However, even combined, these cannot match the capabilities of a larger system when a larger campaign is needed. We have set up a hybrid uHTS/modular acoustic transfer platform that can act as one integrated system or three modular systems. Combining this with a high value chemical library and an active pursuit of partners with high-value bioassays, we have pursued an approach to enable high-value, low-throughput assays, while maintaining uHTS capability and centralized compound and data management.