LRIG Logo The Laboratory Robotics Interest Group
Mid Atlantic Chapter

January 2002
Home Up Briefing


The Laboratory Robotics Interest Group
Mid Atlantic Chapter

January 2002 Meeting

Compound Storage and Retrieval Strategies in HTS

Date:        Wednesday, January 16, 2002
Place:       Somerset Marriott Hotel, 110 Davidson Ave. Somerset, NJ 08873
                  Phone: (732) 560-0500
Itinerary:  Social Period -   4:30 to 6:00 PM
                  Meeting & Presentations -  6:00 to 8:30 PM
Pre-Registration: REQUESTED, not required.  Pre-registering will allow us to more accurately gauge seating requirements and refreshment needs.  Indicate names of attendees and company affiliation.  Pre-register by email with <>.  In order to speed sign-in at the meeting, please bring a business card to drop into the registration box.  There will be business card drawings for our beautiful LRIG rosewood pens and any vendor (hint, hint) supplied prizes.

Door Prizes:
Rosewood Pens (LRIG)
Palm m100 Handheld (TekCel)
unannounced (Analytical Biological Services)

The High Throughput Screening industry faces the bottleneck of an increasing amount of lead compounds making automated compound storage and retrieval a necessary process to achieve the desired assay level.  A recent D&MD report noted: "... it may no longer be sufficient to provide increased throughput for screening while doing nothing to affect downstream bottlenecks in later-stage screening.  Alternatively, it may no longer be sufficient to provide high-throughput screening solutions that fail to effectively interface with compound storage and retrieval systems."  This inaugural meeting is focused on current and future approaches in Automated Compound Storage and Retrieval technologies. 

Food and refreshments will be available FREE OF CHARGE during the Social Period.

Fresh Vegetable Crudite

    Includes: Garden vegetables with assorted dips.

Antipasto Display

    Includes: Fresh Mozzarella, Provolone, Imported Olives, Roasted  Red Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Mushrooms, Pepperoncini, Stuffed cherry Peppers, Prosciutto, Pepperoni and Salami.

Italian Pasta Station

    Includes: assorted sauces and accompaniments. Asparagus Tips, Broccoli Florets, Sun Dried Tomato,, Pepper Confetti, Black Olives, Capers, Olive Oil and Garlic, Grated Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Bread and Breadsticks.

Oriental Wok Station

    Includes: Stir Fried Chicken and Beef prepared with Oriental Vegetables, Soy Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, and Hot Mustard. Served with Egg Fried Rice and Fortune Cookies.


There will be a cash bar as well as soft drinks, coffee and tea.

There is always a Job posting board at the social. Please encourage your recruiters to give you material to post and distribute. Openings may also be posted at

Members interested in presenting a scientific poster are encouraged to do so. Please contact us to arrange for poster space.

There is no fee to attend the meeting.

Presentation:  Modular Strategies for Automated Storage and Retrieval
John Morin, Ph.D.; Biological Chemistry Section, Wyeth-Ayerst Research, Pearl River, NY, USA

The Wyeth-Ayerst Research (WAR) High Throughput Screening (HTS) group is responsible for supporting project teams from 6 different therapeutic areas and maintains HTS laboratories at 2 separate sites. In addition to providing assay development and HTS services, we are responsible for dissolving compounds in DMSO and formatting them into micro-titer plates for distribution inside and outside the company. The WAR corporate library has swollen over the past 10 years through merger activities and the acquisition of combinatorial chemistry collections. By mid-1999 we estimated that sample preparation, storage and retrieval were consuming more than half of our personnel and equipment resources, so we began a project to improve our sample management functions. We achieved greater efficiency almost immediately simply by consolidating responsibility for sample management to a small group of volunteer specialists. Further gains came from collapsing our old 96-well sample plate library into 384-well plates, but the manual storage and retrieval of sample plates in over 70 upright freezers was still a bottleneck. We therefore circulated a Request for Proposals to several leading vendors of automated storage and retrieval systems. After many presentations and extensive deliberation, we ultimately chose to avoid the standard approach of a large, complex, integrated system with multiple overlapping and interdependent functions and to invest instead in a novel hybrid system composed of modular units provided by 3 different vendors. (TekCel, The Technology Partnership and Packard/CCS) I will describe what wee building and why we chose this path. I will also update our progress as elements of the system have begun to arrive.

Presentation:  Advances in Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) for Modern Compound Handling Operations
Mel Reichman, Ph.D.; PDC Inc., West Chester, PA

Advances in HTS technologies over the past decade have been impressive. While raw HTS remains a minor component (< 3%, by time) of the typical Discovery project life cycle; it is a key "stage-gate", core function in Discovery Research. If we postulate the view that overarching drug screening efforts in Pharma represent a manufacturing process wherein the deliverables are bona fide development candidates, rate-limited steps can be proactively identified and mitigated. Compound handling operations are core to all of Research, and have been a persistently troublesome bottleneck. This talk will present advances in compound storage and automated sample retrieval systems (ASRS), as well as modern QC/QA for lead compounds qualification.

Presentation:   SmartPlate integrates library management and assay platforms to increase throughput and preserve compound library
Jeffrey A. Karg, PE; Boston Innovation Inc.; Cambridge, MA

Assay miniaturization has pushed the limits of fluid handling. 384 and 1536 well screening requires accurate and reliable compound dispensing during the reformatting procedure. This time-consuming and wasteful step is eliminated with the SmartPlate?/font> shipping, storing, and dispensing technology that includes integral dilution. A new concept assigns a DMSO dissolved compound to an individually addressable sealed tap. The taps are the storage, metering, dispensing, and diluting elements and formatted in a 384-well plate-based array. Compound dispense volumes range from 5-200nl. Reformatting, disposable tips, and wash cycles are eliminated. This presentation will highlight how SmartPlate10 works, implementation examples, and current performance data.

Presentation:   Mass Storage / Retrieval of Chemical and Biological Libraries
Dr. Terry V. Iorns, Iorns Consulting, Inc., 6334 E. Viewmont Drive, Mesa, AZ 85215 USA

Storage, retrieval, and distribution of chemical and biological libraries is a critical activity in drug discovery. Successful high throughput screening requires careful coordination and interaction of screening technology with assay / reagent preparation and availability of screening libraries. Failure of any of these to come together leads to a problem in the discovery program.
What is a library? Consider a library as a collection of chemical compounds or biological substances that should be handled or screened together. Examples include:
?Compound Collection ?all the compounds/substances a pharmaceutical company can put their hands on.
?Related compounds by activity in a class of assay ?such as a kinase or protease library.
?Related by structure or synthesis ?combinatorial libraries
?Purchased collections
How are libraries received, stored and exchanged? There are four major ways to handle libraries:
?Solubilized in plates
?Solubilized in tubes or microtubes
?Neat substances in vials
?Neat substances in tubes or plates
Neat substances are generally quite stable and are generally stored at room temperature. Sometimes neat substances must be stored cold, in an inert atmosphere, or protected from light. Solubilized substances are generally stored in 100% DMSO. Most organizations store these solutions cold, near the freezing point of DMSO. Source plates or tubes generally contain a fairly high concentration, usually in the range of 3 to 20 mM. Collections are generally distributed to screening laboratories at much lower concentrations, usually less than 1 mM and often in the mM range.
Handling issues to consider:
?Automation of processes to prepare and distribute libraries
?Vendor and equipment reliability
?Sealing tubes and plates to protect solutions from evaporation or water absorption
?Unsealing or piercing plate seals to allow sampling by screening robots
?Stability of substances in solution over long periods of time and conditions
This paper will conclude with a survey of equipment and techniques to make the handling of libraries easier and more reliable. Products from several vendors in the following categories will be mentioned:
?Storage and retrieval systems
?Sealing and piercing devices
?Replication systems
?Robotic systems

Just send an email to



Thank you to TekCel, Inc., our meeting mailer sponsor.  TekCel will host a Complimentary Technology Briefing and Workshop "Optimizing Microplate Management and Preserving Compound Integrity" preceding the LRIG meeting.  The TekCel microplate management system is the only mobile, totally automated, environmental controlled plate management system with an integrated plate sealer/unsealer.  For details and registration see <>.

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