IonWorks Quattro Automated Patch Clamp System for High-Throughput Ion Channel Screening
Ion channels are a viable and under- represented target class in the pharmaceutical industry. Conventional patch clamping of a single cell at a time, the "gold standard" for studying ion channels, is labor intensive and not amenable to screening large numbers of compounds in early stage drug discovery. As a result, surrogate measures of ion channel activity, such as ligand displacement, ionic flux and membrane potential are used, but these assays cannot maintain a population of ion channels in a particular conformational state due to the lack of voltage control.
Recent advances in planar patch clamp technology commenced the era of ion channel screening using a direct electrophysiological assay, and several instruments are commercially available, including the IonWorks® HT and PatchXpress® 7000A systems from Molecular Devices. Although these systems offer considerably higher throughput than conventional patch clamping, there is still a pressing need to match the throughput of surrogate assays while simultaneously driving down the per compound assay costs. To achieve such a goal, Molecular Devices developed the IonWorks® Quattro™ system with Population Patch Clamp™ (PPC) technology.