1. Covance Laboratories, Otley Road, Harrogate HG3 1PY, UK., 2. Labcyte Inc. Rose Orchard Way, San Jose, California 95134, USA.
Paula Urquhart 1, John Lesnick 2, Stuart Dunn 1, Aurore Lejuene-Dodge 2, David Sampson 2 and Sian Estdale 1

TNFα is a pro-inflammatory cytokine overexpressed in autoimmune disease and is a target for drug development.  Adalimumab (Humira™) is an anti-TNFα antibody which binds TNFα and suppresses the immune response.  An established model for anti-TNFα therapeutics is the L929 mouse fibroblast cytotoxicity assay.  We describe the optimization of the cell-based workflow to provide an automated small volume 384 well bioassay with many benefits compared to traditional methods.  The result is a single instrument assay which provides additional replicates in a miniaturized reaction to reduce sample requirement and cost.

Hermann Beck, Roche, Basel, Schweiz

This talk will focus on our expectations, experiences and targets and some of the different questions and challenges which appeared when setting-up automation solutions for potency assays under GMP-conditions. E.g., which factors we consider relevant for optimal use of automation systems for potency assays and how automation could increase quality and efficiency of our work tasks. Some aspects beyond purely technical topics like comparison of automated- with manual assay performance, transferability and automation of potency assays under GMP-conditions will be presented and discussed.

Mario Nikolas Graeve, Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA, Abteilung Laborautomatisierung und Bioproduktionstechnik

Automation of cell-based assays becomes increasingly important in all fields of life sciences around the globe. Smart connection of processes reduce labor-intensive work and process times while increasing reproducibility and throughput, thus significantly improving the overall efficiency of the whole workflow. Automation is possible for almost any process within the modern laboratory infrastructure in general. However, each approach harbors more and less severe obstacles of technological and biological nature, which have to be addressed in a unique fashion.

Johannes Ottl, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research/ Chemical Biology & Therapeutics/ Chemical Genetics

The scope of targets investigated in pharmaceutical research is continuously moving into uncharted territory. Finding suitable chemical matter with the current compound collections is proving increasingly difficult. Encoded library technologies allow for the rapid exploration of a large chemical space for the identification of ligands for such targets. These binders enable drug discovery projects both by the generation of tools for target validation, structural elucidation and assay development as well as by identifying starting points for medicinal chemistry.

André Frenzel, YUMAB GmbH, Braunschweig,Germany 

Antibody phage display has been used for the discovery of therapeutic antibodies since decades. Although several alternative technologies have been developed in the meantime such as single B-cell cloning from immunized donors or transgenic animals expressing a human antibody repertoire, antibody phage display still provides a powerful technology for therapeutic programs. In vitro technologies can be combined with other technologies such as immunization to allow loss-free preservation of the immune repertoire of immunized animals or specific patient groups. The availability of large data sets of expressed antibodies allows bioinformatic assisted prediction of developability to simplify lead selection.