The fastest route to high throughput drug screening using the VIAFLO 96

· Customer Testimonial

The fastest route to high throughput drug screening using the VIAFLO 96

Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company with multiple sites across Europe and the USA. At its Lyon site, the company routinely screens antibiotics for efficacy against severe bacterial infections. Catherine Lapeyrere, a senior microbiologist in the Infectious Diseases Department, explained: “Evotec works on a wide range of projects with a variety of partners to develop and optimize antibiotics for severe bacterial infections. We screen modified or novel antibiotics against several disease-causing bacterial strains, to determine the efficacy of these drugs. Technically speaking, our main goal is to quantify the population density of bacterial cultures after contact with the antibiotic drug, and to identify the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) needed to limit the growth of specific microbes. To do this, we need a high throughput of sample replicates to ensure reliable data, and to maintain reproducibility across all of our samples.”

A successful trial

Researchers in the Infectious Disease Department began working with the VIAFLO 96 multichannel pipette in 2018, after they discovered how it could efficiently streamline their workflow during a month-long trial period. Catherine continued: “Investing in the VIAFLO 96 has significantly improved our pipetting productivity and reproducibility while limiting repetitive strain. Before purchasing, it was important for us to be able to test the pipette, as we need to optimize our resources. Now, we even have colleagues from other departments visiting to understand how the pipette has helped us to streamline our workflow.”

“Our work with antibiotics requires a lot of liquid handling tasks – including filling and transferring liquids between different plates, mixing, re-suspending samples and setting up serial dilutions for MIC assays. The VIAFLO 96 gives us the ability to simultaneously aspirate and dispense liquid in 96 channels, improving both the productivity and reproducibility of our results. In addition, INTEGRA’s reservoirs help to limit the risk of cross-contamination, as we are constantly switching between pipetting medium, bacterial culture and antibiotic compound throughout these different tasks.”

Increasing the throughput of samples

“The number of samples that we handle varies between projects but, for some projects, we can screen over 140 samples. This hugely demanding workflow would be tedious and time consuming with a traditional handheld pipette, but we can pipette an entire microplate seamlessly with the VIAFLO 96. There is also the option to partially fill plates, which is very useful for serial dilutions in MIC studies, for example. This has enabled us to increase our throughput and produce triplicates of each sample and control, increasing the reliability of our data analysis. In addition, defining certain parameters – including pipetting volume, speed and height – enhances the reproducibility of results across the plate, as well as between plates.”

Simple to program

The VIAFLO 96 features a set of ready to use, pre-programed settings for common tasks, and gives users the option to define their own customized programs with VIALINK pipette management software, making it well suited to virtually every liquid handling task. Catherine commented: “The pipette is easy to navigate, and so intuitive that all of our colleagues are able to use it – regardless of their previous experience with electronic or robotic pipettes – without the need for dedicated training. With customizable settings, the system is very versatile, and each lab member is able to use a different program, allowing us to apply the pipette to a range of projects for different partners. The custom programs are developed on the computer, and simply transferred to the pipette for use.”

Reassurance of quality

INTEGRA’s range of GripTip pipette tips are designed to create the perfect seal with the pipetting head, ensuring that they never loosen or leak. Catherine added: “We have found the GripTips really useful, as they efficiently connect to the pipetting head. With our large workflow, it is important for us not to waste samples or reagents, and the blue light on top of the pipette reassures us that we have correctly loaded the tips and can begin working with confidence.”