Compound Storage and Retrieval in High Throughput Screening

Andy Zaayenga andy.zaayenga at
Sat Jan 5 23:10:36 EST 2002

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 
<mailto:andy.zaayenga at>.  In order to speed sign-in at the 
meeting, please bring a business card to drop into the registration box.
There will be a business card drawing for one of our beautiful LRIG rosewood
pens and any vendor (hint, hint) supplied prizes.

The most current information will be at:

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. There will be 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’re 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 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
Dr. Terry V. Iorns; Iorns Consulting, Inc., Mesa, AZ

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
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
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 
· Unsealing or piercing plate seals to allow sampling by screening robots 
· Stability of substances in solution over long periods of time and
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 andy.zaayenga at




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.  

Complimentary Technology Briefing and Workshop: 
Optimizing Microplate Management and Preserving Compound Integrity

The technology now exists for research groups to automatically store and 
retrieve compound libraries at their point of use in drug discovery 
laboratories.  This technology facilitates compound management and liberates
valuable personnel to carry out other responsibilities. At this briefing you
will learn how you can:
·	Electronically track and manage your compound library from a single
·	Better protect and preserve the integrity of your chemical compounds
·	Eliminate exposure of personnel to unknown compounds 
·	Automatically transfer compounds to a drug screening system
·	Easily transport compounds between laboratories or facilities

Seminar size is limited.  Register by email or fax before 1/15/02.
·	Email: anna.barcelos at
·	Fax: 508-544-7001, Attention: Anna Barcelos, TekCel Seminar
If you have any questions about the seminar please call the Seminar Hotline
at 1-800-310-5866 ext. 233.  

For details and registration see 


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