Screening assays for compound libraries made easy with the VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette (Video)

Screening assays for compound libraries made easy with the VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette

VenomTech was founded to provide venom peptides principally for drug discovery, but to able to do this, I had to solve the supply problem as well as the production problem. So we set up a laboratory containing about 200 venomous species to actually collect the venom from and then actually be able to go back to.

Then that venom is fractionated and prepared into assay ready plates for screening. Our main markets are drug discovery, crop science and cosmetics. We make a range of venom peptides for many applications. Through screening the library of individual compounds, we can actually then identify what they are, make them synthetically so we're not reliant on the animals for the final version.

Our core product is the targeted venom discovery array. We've built these by focusing the right venoms to the right target. We build a TVDA by fractionating 12 venoms typically, but also we do build larger libraries, fractionate them out into their individual component parts.

The big challenges for us is that the HPLC produces venom fractions in a 96 well format, and our customers on the drug discovery industry in general, uses 384 as a standard plate format. And therefore, we need to get the venom's reproducibly and robustly from 96 into 384.

The main decision for us to select INTEGRA’s VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette was the ability to greatly improve our efficiency when we're pipetting from 96 to 384 well. INTEGRA’s VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette allows us to produce a 384 format plate better than we could before. To be able to do the same formatting, we had to do it one by one and this takes hours and the VOYAGER allows us to do it in minutes.

For us, the ability to adjust the tip spacing one handed electronically was a major benefit and the reason we picked the VOYAGER. There are so many reasons we love the VOYAGER. It's so quiet, precise and really lightweight and this makes it an ideal pipetting tool.

The repeat dispense function is a really important feature because it means you don't have to go back to the reservoir so often and therefore it makes the pipetting much more efficient. And the serial dilution function is perfect for creating standards in your assay plates.

The GRIPTIPS were another real standout feature of the VOYAGER. Because I've worked in labs, where you have to sort of pound on the pipettes and that’s ergonomically bad. So being able to get a precise seal allows you to not drop tips, which is really frustrating, and also know that you're pipetting the accurate volume every time. 

When you’re pipetting, you're never looking at the display. It's great to have it there, but the key thing with VOYAGER is that if you get disrupted, somebody asked you a question, you can look and the dispense counter tells you where you are.

The user interface on the VOYAGER is really simple and really straightforward, and means that training is minimal for even new members of staff. We considered three multichannel pipettes when we were looking for the key solution for our lab and the INTEGRA sales team really stood out in being really helpful, bringing us the demo model to try and have in our own hands and actually see just how well it worked. We didn't have to guess, we could measure.

The VOYAGER is an incredible workhorse because it solves such a major problem in this lab. We use it for almost everything we do from QC, building our TVDAs and our own internal R&D. We've had our VOYAGER for seven or eight years and it's only had to go off site once for a service, which is pretty incredible considering how much use it gets. As a small, agile biotech, we've got to be really careful where we invest our funds.

The VOYAGER was a major step up from manual pipetting. It saves us many hours of work and has more than paid for itself. I've worked in drug discovery for over 20 years and used many manual electronic pipettes and over that time the VOYAGER stands head and shoulders above anything else I've tried.

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