The Automation Partnership Collaborates with Major Pharma Company
News Dec 03, 2009
The Automation Partnership (TAP) announces that its Advanced Projects Group has partnered with a leading pharma company to successfully design and deliver Sonata™, a system for automated culturing and processing of cell lines in shake flasks.
Sonata™, part-funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, was developed to automatically incubate and process insect cells in Erlenmeyer shake flasks. The system can count the cells, add and decant media, centrifuge, and harvest cells, as well as keeping cells refrigerated until they are required. The automation of these time consuming tasks allows scientists to continually maintain cultures of stock cells and automate infection for the production of baculovirus and protein reagents. Since they are no longer limited to carrying out the optimization processes during the working day, scientists have increased both the number of process runs they can achieve, as well as the quality and quantity of the proteins.
The system can also be used to culture mammalian cells where it can determine the optimum culture conditions and the most suitable cell lines for production of protein therapeutics.
Rick Hollway, Project Manager for Sonata at TAP commented: “Robotic handling of shake flasks is very difficult to engineer because they are bulky. Additionally, being able to organize so many different processing steps to occur at specific time points requires very detailed software scheduling. Sonata has passed rigorous Factory and Site Acceptance Tests and is now being used routinely to increase run numbers without adding any additional staff to produce greater amounts of reagents and support more discovery programmes.”
Hollway continued: “The system uses off-the-shelf labware and can be configured to culture and process virtually any suspension adapted cell line. The large incubator capacity and reliable aseptic processing mean that many insect or mammalian cell lines can be processed in parallel. Sonata will significantly benefit any pharmaceutical companies and Contract Manufacturing Organizations wanting to significantly improve laboratory productivity and accelerate the development of new drugs.”