Plasticell has entered into an agreement with Hamilton Company to automate Plasticell’s Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology for the determination of optimal protocols to direct stem cell differentiation.
Plasticell and Hamilton will develop a fully automated system to perform Combinatorial Cell Culture™ based on STAR liquid handling robots which are capable of complex cell culture operations such as media changes, cell harvesting, cell plating and the addition of growth factors or compounds to cells.
The STAR platform has already been validated for the amplification of embryonic stem cells, a precondition for their differentiation.
Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology systematically searches very large numbers of combinations of cell culture conditions to determine novel protocols that direct the differentiation of stem cells into specific tissue types.
Automation of the technology increases productivity by enabling more parallel screens and enhancing assay reliability.
Commenting on Plasticell’s strategy Dr Yen Choo, CEO, explained: “Automating Combinatorial Cell Culture™ allows us to provide an enhanced high throughput service to biotech and pharma customers.
It also raises the possibility of licensing the technology to the wider research market in conjunction with instrumentation and reagents. Today’s announcement illustrates Plasticell’s capacity to engage with leading laboratory instrumentation players and indicates that the sector understands the importance of our methods in enabling stem cell research.”
In January 2007, Plasticell was awarded a £1.1m Technology Programme grant from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), to support a separate project aimed at automating Combinatorial Cell Culture™ in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC).