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PLASMA YIELDS STERILE PIPETTES
PENNSAUKEN, N.J.—In a team-up that could vastly improve lab automation efficiency, Cerionx Inc. and BioProcessors Corp. have combined the TipCharger System of Cerionx with the SimCell high-throughput cell culture automation platform from BioProcessors. The end result is that inoculation needles used in the SimCell platform can now be sterilized using low temperatures and reportedly using about the same amount of power as a light bulb.
Traditional methods of sterilizing lab automation and scale-up equipment typically utilize heat and chemicals, the companies note, and those methods can be time-consuming, costly and unreliable. Cerionx's "cold" atmospheric-pressure plasma process cleans and sterilizes pipette devices and pin tools in-line and in-process and, in a test against E. coli bacteria, all traces of bacteria were removed in seconds.
Speed is the other advantage the new technology is said to offer, which could also help companies cut costs related to cell culture automation processes.
"Our technology is basically a miniaturized bioreactor, so if you push back the technology as far as it goes, it doesn't really impinge directly on drug discovery, but it does impact discovery of the best expression systems for recombinant drugs you might want to make," notes Stephen K. Tingley, vice president of corporate development for BioProcessors. "So making that process more efficient can still pay off for discovery efforts."
Paul Hensley, founder, president and CTO of Cerionx, says he has worked at companies in which bioreactors were sometimes used for drug discovery work, though he admits it was a haphazard process. "I would expect, though, that as the technology becomes more mainstream and it becomes more efficient, people can bring this same technology up from drug production to drug discovery."The 10-second sterilization results with E. coli have been reproduced with comparable success in several other bacteria and some yeasts, Hensley reports.