The Laboratory Robotics Interest Group
December 1998 Meeting
High Throughput Screening
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 1998
Place: Raritan Valley Community College Advanced Technology Communication
Center, Somerville, NJ 08876
Social Period with Vendor Participation, Food & Refreshments and Poster
Session, Lobby - 4:00 to 7:00 PM
Presentations and Discussion, Auditorium - 7:00 to 9:15 PM
Pre-Registration: Requested, not required. Registering will allow us to more
accurately gauge seating requirements and refreshment needs. Indicate names
of attendees and company affiliation.
Email: andy.zaayenga at lab-robotics.org
Agenda: An exciting agenda is planned for this meeting centered around High
Throughput Screening. During the Social Period which will feature food and
refreshments, there will be a HTS Vendor's Exhibition. Four presentations
with discussion will follow. Members interested in presenting a poster are
encouraged to do so. Open career positions at your company may be announced
or posted. There is no fee to attend the meeting.
EMAX Solution Partners
Hudson Control Group
Marsh Biomedical Products
Nalge Nunc Int'
PE Biosystems - Tropix
Polyfiltronics / Whatman Inc.
The Automation Partnership
Torcon Instruments Inc.
Presentation: Automation of the assay development phase of drug discovery
Damien Dunnington (1), Anthony Lozada (1), Hsiu-Yu Tseng (1), Paul Taylor
(2) and Frances Stewart (2)
1. Hoechst Marion Roussel, Route 202-206, Bridgewater NJ 08807
2. SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, 709 Swedeland Road, King of Prussia
The early phase of drug discovery, beginning with information and ending
with lead compounds, has been re-engineered in recent years to accommodate
advances in combinatorial chemistry and genomics. However, the reengineering
has not been uniform and a disproportionate effort has been devoted to the
screening phase, with relatively little attention to the assay development
and hit follow-up stages where substantial bottlenecks persist. As new
technologies such as miniaturization and fluorescence are introduced, the
gap between an assay conceived by a disease group and the requirements for
automated high throughput screening is becoming ever wider. The assay
development and reformatting bottleneck has inspired an automated approach
toward streamlining and ultimately eliminating this problem. This approach
combines established design-of-experiments techniques with robotics and
interfacing software, with the ultimate goal of assay configuration in a
virtual lab environment and direct interfacing with robotics for execution.
Examples will be presented to illustrate the impact of these approaches on
assay configuration, robustness and hit detection, and progress toward a
fully automated process will be discussed.
Presentation: A Fully Automated Processing System for Fractionating Natural
Scientist, Natural Products Discovery
Pfizer Central Research
We have designed, built, and integrated a fully automated robotic system
that processes crude plant extracts. This system includes bar-coding and
weighing, solvent addition and homogenizing, solid phase extraction,
evaporation, reweighing, pipetting, and a track robot to move samples
through the system.
Presentation: HTS and Lead Optimization Using FLIPR
Joseph Gunnet, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist, Endocrine Therapeutics
The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Rt. 202, Raritan, NJ
The identification of functional agonists and antagonists for some G-protein
coupled receptors (GPCRs) can be done by monitoring intracellular calcium
mobilization. FLIPR (Fluorometric Imaging Plate Reader; Molecular Devices
Corp.) allows GPCR-induced calcium responses to be accurately and reliably
quantitated in an entire 96 well plate. With its CCD camera, FLIPR collects
data at rate sufficient to follow the magnitude and time course of GPCR
activation in each well. The large amount of information gathered from each
well may be analyzed to simply identify hits in HTS or may be analyzed in
more detail to optimize leads and ensure receptor-mediated activity. While
most of the varibles in using FLIPR are the same as for any 96 well liquid
handling system and fluorescent-based assay, performing HTS with FLIPR poses
some unique issues and opportunities. We have worked through some of these
biological, mechanical and data analysis issues and have successfully run
HTS with FLIPR. Improvements in FLIPR hardware and data processing will soon
be available and will expand the utility of an already useful instrument.
Presentation: Validation of Engineered Cell-Based Screens for G
E. William Radany, Ph.D.
G protein-coupled receptors and receptor tyrosine kinases are important
targets for drug discovery. High throughput screening (HTS) assays based on
ligand binding to these targets may yield biased results depending on the
cellular environment in which the cloned receptor resides. The use of
engineered cell lines of defined signalling properties with specific
receptors provides new tools for HTS assays and the the study of orphan
receptors. This presentation will focus on the development of discovery
platforms based on reporter gene technology utilizing cells with specific
Group Update: There were over 500 attendees to our June Vendors Night!
Ope Odusan from Wyeth-Ayerst Research won the business card drawing and
received a handsome rosewood LRIG pen desk set. We hold a similar drawing
at every meeting. John Wetzel from Synaptic Pharmaceuticals won a Pyrex
storage set in the Corning Costar drawing. Joe Kwasnoski from 3-Dimensional
Pharmaceuticals won a Corelle Thermoserver, also from Corning Costar. The
winner of the CD player in the EMAX drawing was Guy Schiehser from
The Society for Biomolecular Screening hosted us from September 20-24 at
their 4th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore, MD. We had a very
successful week with hundreds of visitors and 138 new member signups!
Valuable input came in from interested parties across the U.S. and overseas.
There is a lot of interest in forming chapters in Massachusetts,
California, North Carolina, and Europe. If you can help us by being a local
representative, please step up. We held business card drawings every day.
Janet Hartman Johnson (Boehringer Ingelheim), Mojgan Abousleiman (R.W.
Johnson PRI), and Howard Miller (Pharmacia & Upjohn) all won rosewood LRIG
pen desk sets. Thank you, SBS!
The Discussion Mailing List debuted on October 12. It became an immediate
hit and now has over 300 subscribers and many interesting dialogues on
hardware, software, and methodology. More information may be found at:
ISLAR graciously provided us with a table during the conference October
19-21. We welcome 211 new members. Jennifer McMackin (Merck) and Dr. Dave
Tapolczay (Cambridge Combinatorial) won rosewood pen sets in the business
card drawings. We identified prospective board members for the Boston, San
Francisco, and RTP chapters. Thank you, Zymark!
We are actively forming the Boston and Bay Area LRIG Chapters. Research
Triangle Park and Europe are potential candidates. If you are interested in
helping form these chapters by serving on the local board or energizing your
peers, please contact us.
We are moving to an email-only meeting notification system. If you are
receiving this mailer in paper form, please send your email address to
andy.zaayenga at lab-robotics.org
Mailing Sponsor: LJL BioSystems is a proud sponsor of LRIG activities. LJL
BioSystems (www.ljlbio.com) designs, produces, and markets instrumentation,
reagents, microplates and services that accelerate and enhance the drug
discovery process. Our flagship product, Analyst HTS Assay Detection System,
is a four-mode analyzer specifically designed for the HTS environment.
Food & Refreshment Sponsor: IGEN International Inc. develops detection
platforms utilizing ORIGEN® technology, electrochemiluminescence. Flexible
formats allow quantification of specific interactions between two molecules
(including: quantitation of analytes, mRNA, Kp's of receptor-ligand pairs,
enzyme-substrate activities, interaction of DNA binding-proteins with DNA).
Combining its homogeneous format with a flow cell approach improves
sensitivity and precision, while streamlining assay automation.
For more information contact:
dennis.france at pharma.novartis.com
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
andy.zaayenga at tekcel.com
Analytical Chemistry Chair and Treasurer:
bhaller at ompus.jnj.com
High Throughput Screening Chair:
John Babiak, Ph.D.
babiakj at war.wyeth.com
Agricultural Applications Chair:
reeds at pt.cyanamid.com
Data Management Chair:
Steve Fillers, Ph.D.
steve_fillers at biogen.com
The Raritan Valley Community College campus lies at the crossroads of
Central New Jersey, with Routes 22, 202 and 206 and Interstates 287 and 78
just minutes away. The College is situated on the north side of Route 28 in
On line directions and hotel information at:
Visit the Laboratory Robotics Interest Group homepage at: