Laboratory Automation

users with data handling to facilitate data explo- ration,” noted Dr Rémi Magnan at Tecan.

The miniaturisation of HTS workflows Miniaturisation is one of the main current trends in drug discovery. Harry Forsyth at Analytik Jena explained: “Lab space is at a premium in today’s environment, with the cost per square foot increas- ing rapidly every year, especially in the major tech- nology hubs. This means that scientists are search- ing for instrumentation that provides optimal per- formance but takes up the smallest possible amount of space. Our FeliX liquid handling plat- form is designed to address this need, providing an excellent solution for researchers looking to opti- mise their laboratory space. In addition, the FeliX system is open and modular, so it can be combined with multiple systems, robotic arms, stackers, hotels and many other components, creating an HTS solution tailored specifically to our cus- tomers’ needs.” An additional benefit of miniaturisation for HTS

workflows is that it allows laboratories to increase their throughput (ultra HTS), productivity and efficiency. More samples can be processed within the same footprint while requiring less samples and lower reagent volumes. “Cost savings are realised through the reduction in the volume of reagents needed in the workflow,” commented Carola Schmidt. This is a particularly important issue because the reagents that are increasingly used in drug discovery are becoming more expensive and are often only available in very limited amounts. Without miniaturisation, the large-scale screening of these precious reagents may simply be impossi- ble. But reducing the demand of these reagents is not the only benefit here. “Miniaturisation also reduces the amount of biohazard and plastic waste, which has significant environmental bene- fits, as well as cost savings,” added Schmidt.

Overcoming new challenges with miniaturisation The drive for miniaturisation brings new chal- lenges for liquid handling, and instrument manu- facturers are adopting a variety of approaches to solve the issues. The first of these is achieving con- sistent and precise liquid handling with volumes in the nanolitre range or lower, which presents diffi- culties such as overcoming static forces that can prevent proper dispensing into recipient wells. “There are several products designed to address

the issue of precise liquid handling at low vol- umes,” commented Kevin Truempi at Agilent. “Our Agilent Bravo is a screening workhorse that

Drug Discovery World Winter 2019/20 19

Spread the word: How innovation in life science PR

is improving engagement By Helen Stewart-Miller, Director of PR Services, and Clare Russell, Managing Director, BioStrata


ife science is an ever-changing sector, with companies embracing new technologies in order to stay ahead of competitors. Not only has this facilitated the new products and services being released at an impressive

rate by R&D teams, but leading companies are also using technological inno- vation to drive progress across other business functions, including marketing communications and public relations (PR). In the increasingly-competitive life science landscape, reaching your

prospects with the right information at the right time is more important than ever before. In recent years, marketing automation has become commonplace. As part of a strategic campaign, technologies such as HubSpot are helping life science companies to adeptly manage the buyer’s journey and serve compelling content in a more targeted way in order to attract leads, nurture prospects and delight existing customers. Automated press release distribution services – offered as standalone solu-

tions or as part of mainstream media database platforms – sought to replicate this success for PR by sending out news to the media at the click of a few but- tons. However, as generalist services these were often unable to target the right media contacts with the right news. This was further compounded as the databases powering these services struggled to keep up with the sheer number of niche life science publications and manage the subtle changes in editors’ briefs over time. As such, press releases did not always reach the most relevant contacts, missing their potential for publication and therefore being seen by intended prospective customers. In response, the team of life science PR experts at BioStrata developed Life

Science Newswire, a targeted press release distribution service that helps com- panies secure media coverage to increase visibility, build credibility and improve brand awareness within key communities. The easy-to-use service targets only relevant geographical regions and vertical markets, so organisations can reach specific industry journalists and editors with the news they will want to report to their readers. With improved metrics to measure engagement, uptake and coverage, the service fine-tunes which editors receive each announcement based on their unique interests. To find out more about Life Science Newswire, visit

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