For many in the drug discovery and screening industry, the annual SLAS exhibition and conference is the core event. It represents a platform for showcasing state-of-the-art technologies, fostering scientific collaboration, and inspiring the next generation of scientific pioneers. SelectScience editors attended this month’s event to capture the latest emerging laboratory technologies in the field — here’s our thoughts on the most exciting innovations straight from the show floor.
Thousands of scientists attended the 2019 SLAS Conference in Washington, DC, to witness the latest innovations in automation and screening.
1. NGS DreamPrep - Tecan
Next-generation sequencing technology has advanced hugely over the last decade, and our ability to accurately sequence samples within a matter of hours has enabled a paradigm shift towards personalized medicine. Tecan is taking it one step further with the launch of their new product: NGS DreamPrepTM Workstation– a fully-automated NGS library preparation platform, with integrated QC steps, that yields the highest quality DNA for downstream applications.
2. Andrew Alliance Pipette+ system
The result of a collaboration between Andrew Alliance S.A. and Sartorius, this intelligent pipetting robot brings a fresh approach to liquid handling. Equipped with advanced hardware, the platform aims to challenge the difficulties associated with repeatability and reproducibility – a rising problem emerging in life sciences research. This product, along with others by Nanoview Biosciences and Stilla Technologies, won the new product innovation award. Read more about the New Product Award winners here.
3. CLARIOstar PLUS - BMG Labtech
Officially unveiled at SLAS, the new CLARIOstar PLUS is BMG Labtech's latest microplate reader, with new and improved features, including enhanced dynamic range technology, full-plate autofocus and three dedicated detectors for ultimate sensitivity.
4. Automated ZE5 Cell Analyzer – Bio-Rad
Flow cytometry is a relatively new addition to the screening technology toolbox, previously limited by low throughput and manual sample requirements. The introduction of microplate-based automation front ends, however, has revolutionized cell-based screening assays. Displayed at SLAS, the ZE5 Cell Analyzer by Bio-Rad, is now capable of processing 384-well plates in less than 60 minutes, with no compromise in quality at over 100,000 events per second. It also boasts highly flexible panel design capacity – able to simultaneously detect up to 27 colors.
5. Array TapeTM Technology - LGC, Biosearch Technologies
Assay miniaturization is a hot topic in the screening space, where more information from less sample is facilitating higher throughput at lower costs. LGC, Biosearch Technologies has tackled this in a uniquely inventive way: its Array Tape® consumable technology, for use on platforms such as the oKtopure™ and IntelliQube®, eliminates the need for manual microplate handling whilst supporting liquid dispensing down to 0.8µl.
6. Epitope Mapping Service - MIP
Based on an innovative technique called molecular imprinting, MIP Diagnostics announced the pre-launch of its epitope mapping service at SLAS2019. This unique technology synthesizes nanoparticles to enable researchers to identify previously unknown antigenic surfaces, in a way that could revolutionize the generation of binding molecules for pharma and in vitro diagnostic applications.
7. M3d 3D Cell Culture - Greiner Bio-One
Ever heard of cell magnetization? Neither had we, before we encountered the technology at the core of Greiner Bio-One’s revolutionary 3D cell culture offering. The team at SLAS captivated show attendees with the launch of their biocompatible NanoShuttleTM nanoparticle, which uses magnetic forces to aggregate cells into structurally representative and reproducible 3D models in vitro.
8. Aliquot STARlet – Hamilton Robotics
Whilst the Hamilton party in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum caused a real buzz, the exquisite engineering of its newly-launched Aliquot STARlet platform also sparked conversation on the show floor. Featuring decapping channels, tube-stabilizers, barcode scanning and automated dispensing, this one-of-kind station supports hands-free handling of hazardous samples.
9. ExoViewTM – NanoView Biosciences
The role of extracellular vesicles in disease biology is one of the most exciting and emergent areas of research, and until now, no technology has been dedicated to their analysis. NanoView Biosciences has taken a step forward in the EV field by developing a label-free, direct-from-sample, automated platform to enable full purification and characterization of extracellular vesicles. This bias-free analysis is set to unearth new targets for drug discovery over the next few years.