Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

New Tools for Protein Purification & Assay Automation

From protein sample preparation to next-generation sequencing to cell biology or the now more traditional HTS assays, many scientists are trying to eliminate the numerous manual steps that add cost and introduce variability to laboratory procedures.

by Marc Valer
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

From protein sample preparation to next-generation sequencing to cell biology or the now more traditional HTS assays, many scientists are trying to eliminate the numerous manual steps that add cost and introduce variability to laboratory procedures. Agilent Automation Solutions continues to develop new tools to automate laboratory processes, increase throughput, and provide the assurance of error-free, consistent results.

In 2011, Agilent introduced a major robotic platform, a novel high-throughput micro-chromatography platform—the Agilent AssayMap Bravo, and several new robotic accessories that provide increased flexibility and usability of the leading Agilent integrated solutions.

Benchtop robot automates assays, saves time

Many labs run small- to medium-sized assays and need a small-footprint, highly flexible robot for automation on the bench top. The new Agilent BenchBot Robot is the core of Agilent’s new solutions for bench top assay automation (see Figure 1). It comes to complement the existing offering of BenchCel bench top automation. While the BenchCel features a linear arrangement with integrated labware storage and is capable of automating up to 4 devices, the BenchBot enables cost competitive and incredible ease to setup complex workstations of up to 10 devices. It can integrate workflows using more than 140 Agilent and third party automation devices covering all aspects of laboratory automation, from labware and Microplate storage, plate handling, liquid handling, dispensing, washing and purification, to reading devices. The BenchBot robot brings the performance and flexibility of larger integrated platforms to the bench.

Figure 1. The new Agilent Benchbot robot delivers a plate to a Bravo Liquid handler in this compact assay ready plate processing benchtop workstation. The workstation includes an Agilent BenchBot robot, Bravo Liquid handler, PlateLoc sealer, Labeler, Centrifuge and MiniHub.

High-throughput sample preparation for protein analysis to support biologics discovery and development

The shift in the pharma industry towards biologics has led to an increased number of protein samples to be processed throughout the protein therapeutic development process. Within the biologics industry, monoclonal antibodies constitute the major segment with almost 1/3rd of the market. Researchers deal with a large number of samples during such processes as cell culture optimization for which the gold standard Affinity Chromatography is reliable yet low throughput. The AssayMAP Bravo affinity cartridges with the AssayMAP Bravo platform (see Figure 2) enables up to 96 samples to be processed simultaneously for titer or downstream analysis such as molecular weight determination. The platform can also be utilized for other sample preparation steps such as in-cartridge digestion and sample cleanup for complete product characterization including peptide mapping and oxidation analysis. The automated digestion process provides greater reliability than the labor intensive manual methods.

Figure 2. The new AssayMap1 Bravo platform combines the Agilent Bravo with AssayMAP® microchromatography technology to enable quantitative microscale protein sample preparation.

Increase throughput, Standardization for next generation sequencing

The methods for Next Gen Sequencing continue to evolve rapidly. Automated platforms for NGS sample preparation can dramatically increase throughput and walk-away time, and reduce variability. Agilent Automation Solutions has developed an optimized workstation for Automated Next Generation Sequencing Sample Preparation. This open platform automates library preparation and target enrichment for a variety of NGS reagents. Agilent has developed standardized protocols and reagents optimized for automation including the SureSelectXT library preparation and target enrichment system. Agilent’s NGS automation solution reduces hands-on time for NGS by approximately 80 percent and can automate preparation for up to 192-1000 samples per work-week, depending on the NGS method.

Figure 3. Fully unattended high throughput workflows are better addressed with an Agilent BioCel platform that although not as small or as benchtop solutions, better integrates complex processes using a multitude of dedicated components to achieve 24/7 operation.

Innovative components, flexible configuration for truly high throughput applications

When demands for throughput or unattended processing increase beyond 50 to 100 plates a day or 6-8 hour batches, one can benefit of the most integrated systems like the Agilent BioCel (Figure 3). Using fully optimized components a dedicated team of experts in mechanical, software and application integration, works with each client to design and deliver an individualized solution. The resulting system maximizes throughput and hands-off time, while ensuring maximum uptime and maintaining a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Typically three to 10 different protocols are developed and optimized for each system, with storage capacity between 100 and 1500 plates, and batches that can run unattended for days, while the system remain accessible and can start secondary protocols at any time. BioCel Systems are being used 24/7 in compound management, high throughput screening, cell biology, genomics and biotechnology laboratories across the globe.

If automation is in your future, and you need innovative, compact, flexible instrumentation, visit Agilent Automation Solutions and learn how to easily transform your lab, with Agilent’s new products and solutions, testimonial, workshops, white papers and posters.