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SLAS Europe 2024 New Product Award Winners

A glowing gold trophy.
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The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) annual Europe conference offers an opportunity to showcase new technologies that could revolutionize the life sciences.


One of the highlights of the event includes the presentation of the New Product Award, which recognizes up to three winning new product entries. To be eligible, these products must have been launched in the year since the previous conference and be available for purchase within 90 days both pre- and post-conference. Products are judged on technical merit and commercial feasibility, as well as impact, originality and proof of concept.

Six finalists were selected at this year’s event in Barcelona, Spain, with two winners coming out on top: SEED Biosciences’ Dispen3D and Cryologyx’s PlateReady™.


At SLAS Europe 2024, Technology Networks had the pleasure to speak with Tom Congdon, co-founder and CEO of CryoLogyx, to learn more about their award-winning new product and how it is advancing cell-based assays.


Sarah Whelan (SW): Could you briefly introduce the PlateReady™ cryopreserved assay-ready plates and their main applications?


Tom Congdon (TC): PlateReady™ is an assay-ready cell model that was developed over 10 years of academic research and 2–3 years of product development. It's basically the most convenient assay-ready model on the market. It’s specifically developed to enable faster research outcomes by using cryopreserved cells in adherent for a range of cell-based assays and experiments. Minimal expertise or user input is required – no cell culture, no counting and no quality control. All the user needs to do is take the plates out of the freezer and thaw them using a three-step process, then 24 hours later the plates are ready to go.


SW: Could you describe some of the main applications?


TC: At present, PlateReady™ is best used for screening where you need large amounts of cells. It's useful for generating consistent high-quality data over an extended period, because we cryopreserve and bank large numbers of cells in one go, so you can use those exact same cells day in, day out for several months. We advertise the plates for use in toxicology and virology assays, but ultimately, they are like a Swiss army knife; they can be used for anything you need cells for.


SW: How is this having an impact on the day-to-day workflow for scientists in the lab?


TC: In some user cases we’ve seen up to a 90% reduction in the amount of time it takes to run cell-based assays; some customers have used our plates to cut out 4 weeks of work. Its main advantage is that increase in productivity – if there's less cell culture going on in the lab, then there’s more time to run other experiments, so the same lab space can become much more productive overnight.


SW: What are some of the main advantages over other similar products? How does it address their limitations?


TC: Our products come pre-plated and assay-ready. Compared to other assay-ready models, you don’t have to do any cell counting or wait until they recover before then seeding onto plates. They are ready to go 24 hours post-thaw. So that is an advantage that does lead to an awful lot of process improvement and productivity.



SW: Looking to the future of lab automation, how do you see automation is shaping research and development in the future?


TC: We're being told across the board that more people want to automate experiments or assays. It's really good for high-throughput screening applications, where it’s an advantage to have good quality and consistent data and productivity in the lab, so this is where you're trying to come up with.


We have a semi-automatic process. We've automated almost all the cell painting, and half of the cryopreservation steps in our workflows. We think that automation is really important to guarantee quality and consistency of data and improve output, which is really important for diseases we're trying to treat and cure. This could be done by avoiding errors – for example, using software-backed solutions in tandem with automated experiments. Together, there's the potential to dramatically accelerate the early stages of drug discovery.


SW: Do you have any future plans or developments in this space?


TC: We're always working to improve our models and our products. One of the main things we're looking at is 3D models. That seems to be where everyone is going now.


Dr. Tom Congdon was speaking to Dr. Sarah Whelan, Science Writer for Technology Networks.


About the interviewee:

Dr. Tom Congdon is the CEO and co-founder of CryoLogyx. He holds an MChem and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Warwick.