The main focus in research was on finding new drug candidates. However, pre-formulation screenings have shown that some do not work with the current formulation libraries, hence new formulations are required.
As the early drug discovery stage involves a large number of candidates with very small sample volumes to be tested, an automated system is required to cope with the requirements. Hence new workflows and hardware systems are required which enable the small volumes of material available at the early discovery stage to be dealt with, in order to study the physical and chemical properties.
Zinsser Analytic GmbH, with headquarters in Germany, manufactures systems and tools for Drug Discovery, Liquid Handling, Powder Handling, Automated Weighing, and Organic Synthesis that provide innovative laboratory solutions for modern drug discovery, material science and combinatorial chemistry.
SuSy is a new automatic workbench which enables the testing of a large number of compounds in parallel.
The reactors are based on the microtitre (24, 48, or 96 reactors) format. The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) are precisely weighed into the reactors. Based on the weight, the required amount of aqueous and organic solutions, as well as the viscous components, are then added. For thorough mixing, the sample rack is then moved to temperature controlled vortexers or magnetic stirrers. Automatic sealing of the reactors prevents evaporation of the samples. Tools for pH-measurement and adjustment are also available for integration.
For analysing the dissolution status of the solid compounds, an image is taken using a camera pick-up tool and analysed. Based on the analysis, additional treatment such as sonication is applied and then a further image is taken to confirm the dissolution. Once all the compounds have been dissolved, daughter plates are prepared and sealed on the integrated plate sealer for further use. Evaporation, filtration and HPLC/LC-MS preparation can be integrated and samples for analysis can be taken at any time.
The optimum combination, formulation, of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) require the testing of the large variety of potential excipients with their individual properties as powders (coarse, crystalline, static charge, etc.) and liquids (viscous polymers, acids, oils, etc.). The Formula X® is a specially-designed combinatorial workbench system to automate the search for new formulations and for the optimisation of existing formulations.
Formula X is equipped with 4 standard pipetting probes for liquid handling and a variable volume precision powder dispensing pipette for the distribution of solid compounds. Highly viscous reagents (from 2,000 cps to 10,000 cps) are distributed under active temperature control. Gravimetric distribution of all reagents and samples gives maximum precision. The entire process (sample storage, liquid handling, stirring and vortexing of samples) is temperature controlled. Capping and decapping and crimping of HPLC vials can be supplied as options.