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Supporting COVID-19 Testing With State-of-the-art Liquid Handling

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Sygnature Group is supporting the UK Government’s COVID-19 testing strategy with the loan of a key piece of equipment. The machine, a Tecan Freedom EVO 100, will be used to help automate and accelerate the analysis of samples at the first of the UK Government’s new Lighthouse Labs in Milton Keynes.

The state-of-the-art liquid handling machine is designed to automate the pipetting of multiple samples in laboratories undertaking biological testing. The EVO 100 is considerably faster than manual pipetting, increasing the speed at which assays can be run and enhancing sample through-put. The equipment is also designed to facilitate better assay reproducibility and allow resources and testing equipment to be used more efficiently.

The Prime Minister’s Office approached Dr Simon Hirst, Sygnature’s Founder and CEO, just before Easter and arrangements were swiftly put in place for the Government to collect the EVO 100 on the morning of the 15th April 2020. At Sygnature the machine is normally used by the high-throughput chemistry group supporting the synthesis of the company’s corporate compound collection. Currently the chemical library work at Sygnature is suspended to focus resources on their client programs.

As well as supporting the UK Government’s COVID-19 testing efforts, Sygnature is putting its drug discovery know how to work to support the fight against the coronavirus. "We have a number of active programs working with UK-based academics. These include the design and synthesis of novel compounds against COVID-19 and the metabolic evaluation of potential drug-like molecules," said Dr Simon Hirst, Sygnature’s Founder and CEO. "We are also in discussions with charities and biotech companies about how we can apply our anti-viral drug discovery expertise. We have set up an in-house team of expert drug-hunters to contribute to solving this global pandemic."