“From Sample to Assay – From R&D to IVD” was the title of a two-day workshop Scienion AG hosted in Berlin recently. Almost 100 participants from 12 countries benefited from an outstanding program covering topics from latest research applications, technology improvements to production issues.
Dortmund and Berlin, Germany, November 3, 2010: In four sessions 15 speakers gave insights into different stages of the value chain in the in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) field. Speakers included scientists from renowned research institutions as well as industry experts from small and medium-sized enterprises to large internationally acting corporations. The program included new approaches in the diagnosis of serious diseases such as sepsis, malaria, different cancers, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, borreliosis, viral infections and new point-of-care tests. Technology orientated presentations illustrated the trends of miniaturization and multiplexing assays and highlighted technology improvements covering topics on materials and substrates, labeling techniques, state-of-the-art printing technologies, scanners and bioinformatics. The workshop was accompanied by a comprehensive exhibition of partnering companies to demonstrate all components needed for low-density microarray platforms in research and IVD.
Dr. Holger Eickhoff, CEO of Scienion AG, stated: “Our aim was to provide a networking platform for all players involved in the value chain of in-vitro diagnostics and to present recent trends in multiparameter testing and multiplexed assays. We were overwhelmed by the interest of people who wanted to participate in this workshop and had to extend our planned capacities. We are proud that we obviously hit the mark with the composition and the selection of topics for this workshop. Many of the participants asked for further workshops of this kind on a regular basis.”
Starting with specific applications – the “content” of assays – Dr. Andreas Weimann of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, gave a lecture on sepsis management which plays a crucial role in intensive care medicine. Dr. Faustin Kamena from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm illustrated the usefulness of carbohydrate microarrays as tools for vaccine development and as diagnostics in infectious diseases. Dr. Aart van Amerongen from the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands presented study results about the influence of single parameters in assay settings and presented his research on the use of carbon nanoparticles as signal labels.
Dr. Juan Bataller from Madrid-based Genomica, highlighted the cost reductions by multiplexing analytes and gave company examples of successfully marketing microarray platforms such as for the detection of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and viruses related to respiratory diseases. His comment on the workshop: “We have seen very high level presentations, both on the applications and R&D side as well as on the technology side and company oriented products. A lot of technological improvements and new developments will come in that will make the molecular diagnostics industry very interesting for the coming years.” With regard to Scienion he said: “We are closely collaborating with Scienion and we have been developing strategies to develop and market products together. I think that the non-contact printing technology Scienion brought to the market is becoming a kind of reference in array technologies. This will really help several companies like ours to develop new products and to be more competitive in the IVD segment.” Additionally he stated that he made very interesting contacts during the workshop in different fields, not only in the area of DNA assays Genomica is developing, but also in the protein assay field and in software development.
Also multinational corporations elucidated their involvement in microarray and biosensor technologies in the IVD business. Dr. Daniel Sickert from Munich-based Siemens AG presented in his lecture development activities of Siemens Corporate Technology in the biochip field. Siemens is developing two different biochip platforms integrating semiconductor technology: electrochemical biochips (ELC) and film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) chips which provide detection of DNA hybridization and protein interactions. Both approaches are development projects at Siemens and Sickert gave an overview on recent results and the application potential of both platforms in healthcare and environmental analytics. Demonstrated ELC applications include DNA hybridization assays, protein detection in blood plasma and the detection of bacteria as well as pesticides or antibiotics in drinking water. “We have been working with Scienion since 2007”, he said, “and we are using a sciFLEXARRAYER customized for our specific purposes in our corporate technology department to develop novel platforms of CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) integrated biochips.” For Sickert it had been the second attendance of a Scienion workshop. He appreciated the high quality of the meetings and suggested to include also regulatory issues in next workshops.
Dr. Henk van Damme of Philips Applied Technologies, based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, presented an integrated approach for product and process development. He stressed the importance to develop production processes in parallel with the (disposable) product in the IVD business. Accordingly, the company uses a structured approach to guide a project through various phases and this approach was illustrated by examples which were done by Philips Applied Technologies for both, internal and external customers in the field of IVD.
Dr. Annett Reichel from Salzburg-based Sony DADC Austria AG works in business development within the BioSciences division. She explained how Sony DADC is transferring its expertise in optical precision injection molding, coating and automation technologies – from CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc mass manufacturing – to the production of microstructured polymer devices for the life science and IVD industry. “We are developing these smart consumables together with our clients and do the scale up and mass production. It is great to see the progress in areas like IT, assay and instrument development especially for Point of Care applications. The interaction between the different players in this value chain is essential and Scienion has done a great job in providing a platform for this exchange.”
Many participants appreciated the composition of the workshop and used it to make new contacts. For Dr. Mete Yünezer, General Manager of Izmir-based Genmar, a service provider and applied science distributor, the workshop came just at the right time. He is in the decision process of eventually buying a Scienion dispenser and for him it was useful to learn about the various applications. “It was fantastic to see the different applications of the device as you normally won’t see all kinds of usage. For us it was also useful to meet the Scienion people again and to enjoy the family-like atmosphere within the company.”
Robert Wild from Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics is working with a Scienion dispenser. His main reason for participating in the workshop was “to exchange with other sciFLEXARRAYER users to benefit from their experience and also to learn about other applications.”
A final statement was given by Dr. Alessandra Fischetti from Milan-based Teltec, a company distributing microarray equipment and the Scienion product portfolio in Italy, France and parts of Switzerland. She said: “It was one of the most interesting and useful workshops in the microarray field that I have been attending in the last five years – joining technology and real application examples directly from the field.”
The program, speakers and abstracts of the workshop are available on the Scienion website www.scienion.com.
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Scienion AG provides systems and services for the contact-free printing of biological and chemical agents for diagnostics, pharmaceutics, veterinary, plant and food analytics and research. Addressing the dynamically increasing needs for miniaturization and multiplex analyses, Scienion offers a unique technology portfolio that has been consequently expanded over one decade. Scienion provides flexible solutions for research and development whereas solutions for production purposes are rather customized. Systems and software are characterized by its versatility, precision and robustness. The company is a renowned specialist for ultra low volume liquid handling, particularly for the handling of precious and sensitive compounds of biological or chemical origin. Scienion’s dispensers allow for contact-free and precise drop spotting in the pico- to nano-liter range and are optimally suited for microarray based analytics – as for tests with DNA, oligonucleotides, peptides, proteins, antibodies, glycans or for dispensing cells onto various carriers.
The company operates from two sites, Dortmund and Berlin.
Dr. Holger Eickhoff, CEO
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