Agilent Technologies Inc. and A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC) have announced the launch of a drug-screening platform within ETC’s Singapore Screening Centre.
A*Star selected Agilent to provide a full spectrum of automation technologies to biomedical researchers, enabling highly efficient drug screening in one location.
The Singapore Screening Centre conducts high-throughput screening to indentify potential drug candidates against diseases, using a library of over 300,000 chemical compounds.
It now employs Agilent’s dual BioCel 1200 integrated system, which automates and coordinates the various processes of high-throughput screening, including compound management, assay plate preparation and experiment replication, to ensure high-quality data while saving time and reducing the possibility of human error.
“The location of Agilent’s technology platform within ETC’s newly set up Singapore Screening Centre will not only enhance our ability to produce proprietary drugs for Singapore, but also provide a platform with which to engage a diversity of biomedical research players from across the world,” said Dr. Alex Matter, CEO of ETC.
Dr. Matter continued, “We expect collaborations with top private sector partners such as Agilent will go a long way to accelerate the development of medical solutions.”
The centerpiece of Agilent’s BioCel System is a Direct Drive Robot (DDR) that provides significant advantages in speed and ease of use with its one-touch teaching and innovative design.
The BioCel system is also customized specifically to ETC’s requirements, linking the instruments to ETC’s laboratory information management system so that the BioCel database and sample inventory are synchronized and up to date.
The new platform will boost ongoing drug discovery projects at the Singapore Screening Center, including a collaboration with Duke University and the National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School to screen for novel gastric cancer medicines; and another with DSO National Laboratories and A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore to discover anti-bacterial drugs using a novel whole animal-screening platform.
“ETC is a leading research institution in Singapore and we look forward to working closely with them to collectively drive drug discovery research,” said Yvonne Linney, vice president and general manager, Agilent Automation Solutions Group. “We continue to see growth and opportunities for automated solutions in both Asia and the pharmaceutical markets as a whole.”
Singapore has built up strong scientific foundations and capabilities in translational and clinical research to support industry efforts to accelerate the drug discovery process with next-generation technologies. Today, leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies have invested in more than 50 commercial-scale facilities in Singapore.
In 2009, Agilent opened a life sciences manufacturing facility in its Yishun, Singapore campus. The facility expanded Agilent’s presence in the region and brought it closer to its Asia Pacific customer base.