Australian clinical stage drug development company Pharmaxis Ltd operates a highly productive drug discovery engine to evaluate vital treatments for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, from synthesis and screening right through to Phase II clinical trials. The company already has two approved respiratory products available on the global market for cystic fibrosis and asthma, and many more in clinical trials, including a promising candidate for the treatment of bone marrow cancer myelofibrosis. Pharmaxis has become a global leader in mechanism-based inhibitors of amine oxidases, and uses its platform to synthesize a wide range of compounds offering different properties to treat an array of diseases.
Multifunctional and versatile
Drug development and screening require equipment that is both efficient and flexible, so that it can be applied to different techniques and approaches as demands change and projects progress. Ross Hamilton, Research Scientist at Pharmaxis, explained: “We were looking for an all-round liquid handling solution that offered the flexibility to be applied to a number of different workflows in our lab, and came across the ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot from INTEGRA. In combination with 12 channel VIAFLO electronic pipettes, this system has been incredibly useful for all of our pipetting tasks, from compound dilution to preparing microplate reader assays. We use this set-up across almost every stage of the workflow, along with the company’s VIAFLO 96 and VIAFLO 384 handheld electronic pipettes – which we have with various pipetting heads ranging in volume sizes of 50 to 1250 µl – for whole plate filling and transfers. Previously, we were manually pipetting in 96 and 384 well formats, which was a daunting task, but now we can seamlessly fill entire plates, saving us an incredible amount of time.”
The workhorse of the lab
It is also vital to maintain pipetting accuracy for drug development protocols, in order to obtain data that you can rely on. Ross Hamilton continued: “The accuracy of these instruments is really good, and pipetting multiple channels in parallel helps to eliminate the risk of human error, as there is nothing worse than getting halfway through a plate and forgetting where you were. We also like the GripTips pipette tips for this reason, as we never have to worry about them leaking or falling off, which could potentially disrupt our concentration and hinder accuracy. The systems are also extremely straightforward to set up and use, and we have protocols saved to the instrument for each task, so it’s as simple as adding the plates and hitting run. We’ve been using all three instruments for over two years now, and we operate them every single day – they’ve become the dependable workhorses of the lab.”