Fluxion Biosciences Introduces IonFlux-HT and IonFlux-16 Automated Patch Clamp Systems

Published on February 28, 2009 at 1:25 AM

Fluxion Biosciences, a leading provider of functional cell biology platforms, introduces the IonFlux-HT and IonFlux-16 Automated Patch Clamp Systems, bringing significant gains in throughput, workflow simplicity and affordability to ion channel research. These new systems combine Fluxion's proprietary microfluidic technology with integrated electronics to automate the traditional patch clamp assay, the "gold standard" in ion channel research. Ideal applications include primary/secondary screening, lead optimization and toxicology screening.

Ion channels play important roles in cell physiology and are ideal drug targets, but their potential has been largely untapped. Traditional manual approaches to patch clamp assays are time-consuming and skill-sensitive. Newer automated systems deliver a maximum of about 2,000 data points per day but the hardware and consumable costs are high. Consumable costs per data point have ranged from $1 to $4.

The IonFlux-HT system includes 64 amplifiers and delivers between 8,000 and 10,000 assays per day at a cost of just 30 cents per data point using 384-well plates. The IonFlux-16 provides all the features of the HT system with 16 amplifiers, utilizing a 96-well plate format. Delivering 2,000 data points per day, the IonFlux-16 system is offered at a cost that addresses the unmet needs of many researchers who cannot afford the high price tag of current automated patch clamp systems.

Both the IonFlux-HT and IonFlux-16 systems utilize standard well-plate formats with integrated microfluidic channels for cell patching and compound addition. The systems employ a familiar plate reader format for simplicity and integration with existing automated liquid handlers. The IonFlux technology automates cell manipulation, trapping, sealing, whole-cell formation and precise voltage protocols. Voltage clamping occurs continuously during all fluidic operations. Automated compound addition during the voltage protocol provides delivery to the cells in 50 milliseconds, making the system ideal for ligand-gated channels.

"The complexity and cost of patch clamp systems have been huge deterrents to the exploration of new ion channel drugs," comments Jeff Jensen, CEO of Fluxion. "At a price point of $500,000, the few available automated platforms have been beyond the reach of many researchers. IonFlux patch clamp systems deliver four to five times more assays per day than the highest throughput system on the market and our price tag is several hundred thousand dollars lower, with a much lower consumable cost per experiment."

The IonFlux-16 system is available for immediate delivery. Deliveries of the IonFlux-HT system will begin in July.

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