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Major Cell Culture Centre Chooses TAP’s Automated Cryovial Filling System

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The Automation Partnership (TAP) has announced its Fill-It™, benchtop automated dispensing system, is being used at one of the world’s largest biological resource centres to improve the precision of filling and to reduce the time required to dispense cells into large numbers of cryovials.

Scientists at the cell culture centre in Europe have used Fill-It since 2008 to dispense frozen cells in a consistent volume into stock cryovial for both cell banking and assay ready drug discovery applications. They chose Fill-It because their validation studies showed it is the most efficient way to uncap, dispense cells and recap a large batch of screw-cap 24 Nunc cryovials, while still maintaining aseptic conditions.

A Project Manager, at the cell culture centre explained: “We were approached by a drug discovery company and asked to produce assay-ready cells, which meant going from producing two to twenty million cells per vial. It was soon obvious that filling cryovials at this scale was a serious bottleneck in the process so we decided to automate. Since 90 percent of our clients want cells in cryovials, we carried out validation studies using the Fill-It system. These showed that Fill-It is more accurate than a human and can maintain good sterility when we use it in a Class II cabinet.”

The Project Manager added: “In the 18 months we have been using Fill-it, we have tested it with around 20 different recombinant and non-recombinant cell types including CHO, HEK293 and some neuronal cell lines and all the cells grow well after automated dispensing. For us, Fill-It has enabled a step change in the scale of projects we can undertake and we always use it when we have runs of more than 200 tubes. We have not yet reached anywhere near the system’s capacity, so we are very happy with its performance.”

Stephen Guy, Technology Group Manager at TAP commented: “We are delighted our Fill-It system is helping such a prestigious European cell culture centre to increase their capacity to supply world class cell lines. The studies carried out at this centre show that the system can improve accuracy of dispensing without compromising the growth and utility of the cell lines, and means any pharma company or biological resource institute can confidently install a Fill-It to reduce the time and costs associated with producing large cell banks or with dispensing cells for major drug discovery projects.”