Sophion, part of Biolin Scientific, has received its first purchase orders for its new high throughput screening platform from leading pharma companies. The Sophion Qube™ measures the effect of potential new drug candidates directly on ion channels in living cells. By a unique combination of high quality recordings and high throughput, the Sophion Qube can boost the productivity of the first phases of ion channel drug discovery dramatically. Morten Sunesen, VP of Drug Discovery at Biolin Scientific, says that the Qube’s throughput capabilities are unmatched on a global scale.
Sophion was founded in 2000 and introduced the QPatch line of products of fully automated patch clamp platforms already in 2004. Sophion was sold to Ratos´ subsidiary Biolin Scientific in 2011. Sophion has flourished under new ownership, says Mr. Sunesen. “The medium throughput system, QPatch, can test up to 10,000 compounds in 24 hours. The machine has sold well and has proven its value at many ion channel laboratories and for big pharmaceutical companies. With Biolin Scientific’s support, we’ve been able to develop the next generation Qube as a high-throughput technology. We’re very excited as it represents a massive step forward, and, building on Biolin Scientific’s global resources, we believe we can further grow our share of the market for automated patch clamping while helping the life sciences industry to speed up drug discovery processes.”
Mr. Sunesen explains that patch clamping is not a new technique: it was developed by Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their research, which made it possible to record the currents of single ion channels for the first time, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991.
Automated patch clamping is fairly new, however. “To put it simply, Neher and Sakmann opened the gate for drug developers as we can find a lot of answers in ion channels,” adds Mr. Sunesen. “Automated patch clamp machines such as Sophion’s Qube enable drug developers to collect large amounts of data inexpensively in a shorter period of time.” There are many drug development programmes targeting ion channels in progress, for indications like pain, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, depression and cystic fibrosis.
With the promise of being able to speed up these programmes, the new generation Qube is a 384-channel automatic patch clamp system that delivers ion channel data at an unprecedented throughput. At full integration into an existing screening line, Sophion Qube has the capacity to test up to 30,000 compounds in 24 hours.
For up to 4 hours unattended operations, Sophion Qube is also available as a standalone system. “But one of the Qube’s key differentiators is that is can be fully integrated into existing robot lines,” says Mr. Sunesen. He also emphasises that the Qube is marketed as a complete, plug and play system, integrating hardware and software proprietary to Sophion.