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Corning Launches High-Throughput Label-Free Drug Screening System

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Corning Incorporated has announced the commercial launch of the Epic™ system, a high-throughput label-free screening platform based on optical biosensor technology.

The system is designed to perform both biochemical and cell-based drug discovery applications and offer drug developers the ability to evaluate new drug targets. It also allows for the observation of direct biological interactions.

The system uses optical technology to eliminate the need for labels and consists of two basic components: a disposable 384-well microplate with integrated biosensors and a high-throughput screening compatible microplate reader that permits screening of up to 40,000 wells in an eight-hour period.

The Epic system can be integrated with existing facilities and instrumentation.

"Conventional drug screening technologies rely heavily on the use of fluorescent or radioactive labels," said Mark Beck, vice president and general manager, Corning Life Sciences.

"These labels can cause undesirable interactions such as false positives or negatives, or prevent researchers from exploring promising new drug targets because little information is known about the target," continued Beck.

"Prior to the introduction of the Epic system, only very small-scale label-free experiments could be performed, which did not address the needs of today's discovery programs."

"Corning solved the difficult problem of enabling label-free screening in high throughput by integrating our expertise in optics, materials science and the life sciences to bring this technology to market."

The high sensitivity of the Epic system makes it suitable for a broad range of drug discovery applications, including both biochemical and cell-based assays.

Corning Life Sciences, in conjunction with multiple academic and industry collaborators, has evaluated numerous small-molecule, large-molecule and cell-based interactions, and several examples will be presented at the Society for Biomolecular Sciences Conference in Seattle, Washington from September 17-21. The Epic system will also be on display in the Corning exhibit (booth #621).

"The complexity associated with drug interactions requires a broad understanding of the associated biology, and researchers need to be able to evaluate this from many orthogonal vantage points," commented Jeff Mooney, commercial technology director, Corning Life Sciences.

"The Epic system has the sensitivity to detect small molecule binding interactions and to measure endogenous level cellular response - all in the same platform at high throughput," Mooney continued.

"This means that with a single instrument a researcher could screen, for example, the binding between a small molecule drug and a kinase target, or alternatively perform a cell-based GPCR screen using cells with endogenously expressed receptors. There is no comparable system commercially available today."