Cellectricon was looking to expand the market of their Cellaxess® in-plate electroporation technology by developing an instrument for automated high-throughput electroporation of adherent cells for use in drug discovery screening.
The existing Cellaxess® technology was a manual system enabling electroporation of three wells at a time in 96 round-well micro-titre plates. We miniaturized and multiplied this manual system, which allowed fully automated, concurrent electroporation of 96 wells at a time in 384 square-well micro-titre plates.
Each electroporation tip had to provide a precise tip-well bottom gap of just 75µm. It also had to be independently compliant to accommodate well bottom height variations while providing one fluid and two electrical connections.
Our challenge was to develop an instrument that would:
- Allow automated high-throughput electroporation
- Cope with variations in micro-titre plate flatness and position
- Reliably engage all 96 electroporation tips with wells of close to the same size
- Be able to also perform associated fluid handling on the same instrument
- Use an off-the-shelf liquid handling platform to minimize time to market while providing the instrument with Cellectricon’s own industrial design and appearance
- Provide application-specific user interface software
Our team assisted with definition and refinement of instrument requirements, and systematically identified and prioritized detailed design challenges including:
- Selecting the most suitable OEM liquid handling platform to meet instrument goals
- Adapting to evolving instrument needs
- Completing the detailed design, construction and verification of prototypes
- Transferring to manufacture
The final product was a breakthrough in drug discovery screening technology to aid the drug discovery process. The Cellaxess® Elektra opened a new market for Cellectricon and enabled a new revenue stream through consumable sales.