SLAS2024: Day Two Highlights

Boston waterfront
Scientific sessions

Tuesday’s presentations spanned a range of topics, including functional genomics for target identification, next-generation proteomics, self-driving laboratories, the future of cell culture, and ‘lab on a particle’ technology.

There were some great talks on the DDW-hosted Ignite Theater track, co-sponsored by Hamamatsu Corporation and Integra Life Sciences. In the morning, Masaru Kanekiyo, DVM, PhD, Investigator and Chief of Molecular Immunoengineering Section of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH, gave a fascinating talk on ‘Structural vaccinology for influenza: The technology behind the NIAD VRC’s nanoparticle-based vaccines.’

In the afternoon, Dr Isaac Bentwich, Founder and CEO of Quris AI, spoke on ‘How artificial intelligence and patient-on-a-chip are improving drug development’. He explored the impact of Quris-AI’s Bio-AI platform in the field of drug development, and how the integration of AI with cutting-edge technologies like patient-on-a-chip, real-time nano-sensing and stem cell genomic diversity is addressing the critical challenge of predicting drug behaviour in humans.

In the last talk of the day, Anubhav Tripathi, Professor of Medical Science and Engineering at Brown University, presented on ‘Accelerating biotherapeutics development through technology platforms’. He discussed how microfluidics assisted synthesis and biologics testing, high throughput automated platforms, functional multiomics screening, artificial intelligence and machine learning have accelerated the development of protein and RNA-based therapeutics. His presentation included key examples of methods that have been implemented in the therapeutics workflow which show reduced development time, accurate and precise data generation, and more rapid data delivery to the research, manufacturing and commercial teams.

Product launches

More than 400 exhibitors are attending the event this year, many of whom are using the occasion to launch new products.

Bio-Rad demonstrated its ZE5 Cell Analyzer for automating flow cytometry at their booth, while the company’s partners HighRes Biosolutions, Hudson Robotics and PAA all displayed their automation platforms working with the ZE5 Cell Analyzer.

Opentrons Labworks demonstrated its new protocol library, which offers plug-and-play protocols for all Opentrons robots, including the Opentrons Flex. The company aims to build a first-of-its-kind ecosystem for simplifying and scaling lab automation, which comprises the protocol library along with generative AI tools for protocol development, coupled with stringent wet- and dry-lab verification processes. Linked to this, the company has also launched its automation marketplace, with tools and software from Opentrons’ partners that can be easily integrated into Opentrons robotics systems, catering to rapidly expanding sectors like drug discovery and microbiome research.

Harvard spin-out CytoTronics launched its first commercial product offering at the event. The new Pixel system is a semiconductor-to-live cell interface powered by microchips that the company hopes will significantly impact scientists’ discoveries through accelerated data generation and live-cell insights.

Cytiva announced its collaboration with LevitasBio to deliver a single-cell workflow for genomics researchers in academia and industry. The multifaceted approach offers a semi-automated process, encompassing tissue dissociation and single-cell suspension clean-up, with the aim of enhancing sample preparation for diverse downstream applications and empowering researchers with more efficient and standardised workflows.

Azenta launched its automated solution for ultracold sample management, BioArc Ultra, which has been designed for large-scale sample management and has a specific focus on operational efficiency benefits, including footprint, labour and electricity cost-savings. The Ultra features an eco-friendly cooling system utilising natural air rather than manufactured, ozone-depleting refrigerants, enabling a zero-ozone depletion potential (ODP) and zero global warming potential (GWP), two factors that are key to sustainability needs and initiatives within life sciences industries and applications.

Other exhibitor announcements included:

  • Omega Bio-Tek debuted its new standard for high-volume, cost-effective DNA/RNA extraction – the MagBinder Fit24
  • SPOC Proteomics announced the commercial launch of the company’s customisable sensor-integrated proteome on chip (SPOC) biosensors for limited beta testing
  • Cell Microsystems announced strategic partnership with OMNI Life Sciences to bring cellular analysis solutions to US and Canadian markets
  • Retisoft unveiled its Genera 6.6 laboratory automation software, including enhanced robotic arm teaching interface and new package management feature.

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