Thermo Electron Corporation announced that it had secured a major contract with Altana Pharma to install a fully integrated Ultra High Throughput Screening system. Named last year as one of the most profitable pharmaceutical operations in Europe, Altana focuses on identifying new therapeutic approaches in the fields of respiratory inflammation, oncology and gastroenterology. The new system promises to significantly accelerate this complex process, shortening both compound discovery and development times.
Compound screening and profiling in early drug discovery is currently the responsibility of Altana's HTS laboratories in Konstanz, Germany. Using cell and biochemical based assays, the laboratories focus on small volume 384 and 1536-well plates. According to Christopher McNary, Vice President & General Manager Laboratory Automation Solutions Thermo Electron, Thermo will be installing its CRS Dimension4 System, which consists of advanced robotics developed to maximize throughput in the laboratory. Thermo's CRS Dimension4 will integrate other Thermo equipment such as Multidrop® liquid dispensers and VAL's (vertical array loaders) with Thermo's Cytomat incubators to maximize storage capacity.
Dr. Stuermer, Head of High Throughput Screening, Altana Pharma commented, "We have very tough criteria for the production of high quality data and the need of an ultra high throughput system that can deliver a large number of test points per day. We felt that Thermo is the company that can fulfill our specific requirements with a robust, highly automated system." At present, up to 80,000 compounds are screened per day, but following the integration of the CRS Dimension4 System, they anticipate being able to significantly improve these capabilities to more than 180,000 compound tests per day. Dr. Stuermer also believes that the integration of such a system will boost compound profiling capabilities from currently 10,000 IC50s per day to a whole new level.