London, UK, 24 September 2007. Plasticell, the biotechnology company developing regenerative drugs using high throughput stem cell technologies, has entered into an agreement with Hamilton Company, a worldwide leader in robotic liquid handling devices and laboratory automation, to automate Plasticell’s Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology for the determination of optimal protocols to direct stem cell differentiation.
Plasticell and Hamilton will develop a fully automated system to perform Combinatorial Cell Culture™ based on STAR liquid handling robots which are capable of complex cell culture operations such as media changes, cell harvesting, cell plating and the addition of growth factors or compounds to cells. The STAR platform has already been validated for the amplification of embryonic stem cells, a precondition for their differentiation.
Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology systematically searches very large numbers of combinations of cell culture conditions to determine novel protocols that direct the differentiation of stem cells into specific tissue types. Automation of the technology increases productivity by enabling more parallel screens and enhancing assay reliability.
Commenting on Plasticell’s strategy Dr Yen Choo, CEO, explained: “Automating Combinatorial Cell Culture™ allows us to provide an enhanced high throughput service to biotech and pharma customers. It also raises the possibility of licensing the technology to the wider research market in conjunction with instrumentation and reagents. Today’s announcement illustrates Plasticell’s capacity to engage with leading laboratory instrumentation players and indicates that the sector understands the importance of our methods in enabling stem cell research.”
In January 2007, Plasticell was awarded a £1.1m Technology Programme grant from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), to support a separate project aimed at automating Combinatorial Cell Culture™ in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC).
Plasticell is a privately held, London-based biotechnology company using innovative, high throughput stem cell technologies and novel drug discovery platforms to dissect the mechanisms leading to differentiation of stem cells, the master cells responsible for tissue development and repair. Plasticell’s research focus is to discover regenerative small molecule drugs. The company also forms industry alliances by partnering its Combinatorial Cell Culture™ technology for high throughput stem cell differentiation to derive cell lines and reagents for research and therapy applications. For more information please visit the company’s website: www.plasticell.co.uk
Hamilton Company is a leading worldwide supplier of precise liquid handling devices, laboratory automation and storage systems. Hamilton is headquartered in Reno, NV (USA) and Bonaduz, Switzerland, both facilities having R&D and production capabilities to rapidly serve customers in pharma, biotech, government, academic and non-profit research institutions. For more information please visit the company’s website: www.hamiltoncompany.com