Nanopoint Recognized by Frost and Sullivan for its Pioneering Cell Imaging Solution

Based on its recent analysis of the cell imaging solutions market, Frost + Sullivan presents Nanopoint, Inc. with the 2009 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation of the Year. The company's cellTRAY® Imaging System CT-2000 represents a highly sophisticated, on-microscope incubator and integrated fluidics system for in vitro research.

Cellular imaging forms an integral part of disease detection and drug discovery. Currently available technologies for this include high resolution imaging systems and live cell-based assay systems. While the former technology is restricted by the optical pathways already established by its microscope based design, the latter is ill suited for crucial add-ons to support microfluidic devices intended for the biological community. Nanopoint's CT-2000 helps in overcoming such limitations.

"The cellTRAY Imaging CT-2000 system has the potential to add value to the diagnostic testing services industry because of its functionality as a miniaturized cell containment and imaging system for live cell-based assays," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst S.R. Priya. "Besides miniaturization and accuracy, Nanopoint's system also provides other significant advantages in terms of performance and cost."

The cellTRAY® consists of a microarray of etched wells on a glass substrate the size of a microscope slide and capillary channels essential for reagents and long-lasting life supporting fluids. The CT-2000 comprises of all the hardware, software (proprietary) and support for carrying out automated time-lapse imaging applications, which include a set of three cellTRAYs for preparing and performing numerous experiments simultaneously; a microscope stage-mounted incubator known as the manifold; a monochrome camera with high resolution (1392x1040); an automated fluidics delivery system; a shutter; two filter wheels; a motorized XYZ stage along with controller and joystick; computer with software loaded to assist in navigation, image acquisition, and handling data; optimized application protocols for conserving the need for reagents and utilizing the imaging system's abilities. The consumables comprise of a family of cellTRAYs, custom Petri dishes for cellTRAY incubation and storage, and hardware maintenance kits.

Multiple cells are held in an ordered array by the cellTRAY. This facilitates automated processing and monitoring of a large matrix of cells simultaneously. The cellTRAY is stationed on the manifold, which contains integrated temperature control and an air port for supplying regulated carbon dioxide or any other mixture of gases. A hinged glass cover is provided for reducing the incidence of contamination and at the same time providing easy access to the cellTRAY. The fluidics controller has a very small footprint with vertically-oriented syringe pumps. Syringe pumps leading to and from a fluid reservoir and waste bottle are employed for regulating fluid. The flow rate of these pumps can be programmed as needed by the user. The fluid volume in a single syringe is sufficient to support a 4 hour experiment. However, since the volume is restored automatically from the reservoir, it is capable of performing experiments that span multiple days.

Ten out of the total 14 regions present on the cellTRAY can be dealt with individually, facilitating the administration of different reagents at each port. Five regions each are catered to by two dispense pumps. Two pumps are employed for draining the fluid. Ten regions on the CT-2000 are thus utilized with the remaining 4 regions functioning as buffers.

Essentially, Nanopoint's system offers high performance and is capable of performing many experiments on a single cellTRAY. Facilitating longer cell life means that experiments can be performed for a long period of time using living cells as against conventional well plates. The cellTRAY can be used along with any inverted microscope platform or laboratory equipment with the ability to hold a standard sized microscope slide, and can be autoclaved and reused many times (cellTRAY is made of fused silica or borosilicate glass bonded to silicon), reducing material costs. Further, the cellTRAY's microarray of wells and microfluidic channels are designed to minimize the amount of reagents needed, helping cut operating costs as well as biological waste. Furthermore, the system could be employed for time lapse imaging, that is, multi-day experiments could be performed, stem cell differentiation can be observed, and RNAi knockdowns could be performed.

"The cellTRAY® Imaging System can be applied for numerous applications – apoptosis research, stem cell research, toxicology research, Nano particle, C dot, Q dot research, RNAi research and IVF research," notes Priya. "Further, the company has four issued US patents and 3 others pending for the cellTRAY platform besides an exclusive license to a patent issued to MIT for additional imaging technology."

Nanopoint has established a network of research collaborations for new applications, such as for IVF clinics and single cell studies across a variety of domains. It is also actively engaged in developing a "black box with imbedded optics" system to eliminate the requirement for a microscope; cellTRAY imaging system for the IVF clinic; and an ultra-high resolution cellTRAY imaging system for single cell studies at resolutions of 100nm or better.

In recognition of its development of the cellTRAY® Imaging CT-2000 system and value add to the diagnostic testing services industry, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present Nanopoint with the 2009 Award for Product Innovation of the Year. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in new products and technologies within its industry. The award lauds innovation shown through the launch of a broad line of emerging products and technologies.

Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.


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