Lab Canada

Pipette system boosts lab’s productivity

Integrating an Integra Viaflo 96 multichannel pipette into its high-throughput expression facility has enabled Molecular Partners in Zurich, Switzerland to streamline the discovery and development of a novel class of targeted protein therapeutics termed DARPins.

Molecular Partners is a privately owned biopharmaceutical company that is pioneering the development of novel protein therapeutics. The company is developing a broad and differentiated pipeline based on these products to treat diseases in oncology, immunology and ophthalmology.

DARPins are a next generation of protein therapeutics combining the advantages of antibodies and small molecule drugs. High target specificity and potency, small size, cost-effective production and a whole range of possible multi-specific format choices gives them the potential to surpass existing antibody drugs and revolutionize protein therapeutics.

Molecular Partners is primarily using the Viaflo 96 multichannel pipette system for protein purification using IMAC (Immobilized Metal Affinity Chromatography). The system is used for various steps in the process, starting from the preparation of bacterial cultures right through to the actual purification.

“Overall, the protocol involves 63 full-plate liquid transfers – such a workload would not be feasible with a traditional handheld multichannel pipette,” said Andreas Lehmann, an expert technical assistant who works in Molecular Partners’ 96-well high throughput expression facility. “We have found that the Viaflo 96 is easy to integrate into our standard operating protocols because parameters can be defined: pipetting mode, volume, pipetting speed and pipetting height. We particularly like the repeat-dispense function on the Viaflo 96 as it saves the lab a lot of time and improves the overall reproducibility of tests as all samples [are] processed at the same time in the same way.”

The pipetting system offers fast, precise and easy simultaneous transfer of 96 samples from microplates at a lower cost than a fully automated system. The system was designed to handle just like a standard handheld pipette, and the manufacturer says it receives consistent end-user feedback that no special skills or training are required to operate it.

The system also helps to increase productivity. Fast replication or reformatting of 96 and 384 well plates and high-precision transferring of reagents, compounds and solutions to or from microplates is as easy as pipetting with a standard electronic pipette into a single tube. It has four pipetting heads that are interchangeable within seconds, enabling optimal matching of the available volume range to the application performed.

“Our lab is extremely satisfied with our decision to purchase and incorporate Integra’s Viaflo 96 into our development protocols,” said Lehmann.

And, he added, “Being responsible for training of new staff, I also appreciate that the Viaflo 96 is user friendly and intuitive to use because very little training is required.”