High throughput screening (HTS) is a way of rapidly assessing a large number of candidate compounds or genetic modulators to identify active compounds, antibodies or genes which modulate a particular biomolecular pathway. Enzymes such as kinases, proteases, phosphatases, oxidoreductases, phosphodiesterases, and transferases comprise the majority of biochemical targets in today’s lead discovery efforts.
An HTS system generally includes robotic microplate and labware handling systems, liquid handling systems, colony pickers and laboratory instrument control software. Microplates, each of which consists of an array of wells, are moved through the system by robotic handling. The wells in the microplates are filled via the liquid handling systems, and sensors are used to evaluate the samples in the microplate, often after a period of incubation. Laboratory automation software choreographs the entire screening process, ensuring accuracy within the process and repeatability between processes.
HTS is usually one of the first steps in the drug discovery process and is used to screen a large number of candidates and then candidates that meet specific performance criteria are identified and used for further testing. HTS can also be used for understanding the role of a particular biochemical process.
Hudson Robotics Tools for High-Throughput-Screening
At Hudson Robotics, we specialize in applying lab instruments, software and hundreds of third party lab instrument integrations! We design and build innovative systems, dynamic software, and instruments to automate and streamline your discovery workflows. Hudson specializes in integrating users’ instruments into custom laboratory automation solutions as well as offer pre-configured laboratory workcells to carry out well-established protocols.
All of our laboratory robots are tied together by our powerful, but easy-to-use, SoftLinx™ control software, which can control hundreds of 3rd party laboratory instruments. SoftLinx contains a simple flow-chart based protocol editor and comes with our Guided Operation technology that makes it easy for the inexperienced technician to run the most complex protocol without further instruction.
In the past, screening was a slow, manual process that relied on human labor to perform the screening and human observation to measure results. Automation has allowed pharmaceutical companies biomedical researchers to use HTS to greatly increase the number of evaluations that they can perform in parallel while maintaining high levels of quality. This reduces the time scale of drug discovery and the labor involved as well.
Quality control is an important part of the effectiveness of HTS processes. Quality can be maintained through good plate design, the use of effective positive and negative chemical/biological controls, and the development of effective quality control metrics that measure the degree of differentiation between assays so that assays with inferior data quality can be identified.