Plasticell launches second generation Combicult cell culture
26 Oct 2010
Plasticell has launched its second generation screening
platform, the Combicult 10,000-plex screen. It is capable of rapidly
screening up to ten thousand cell culture media combinations.
The company has also announced that it has won the Frost & Sullivan
2010 European Technology Innovation Award for its first generation
platform. In a market survey of key competitors, CombiCult was
ranked the leading technology in terms of uniqueness, impact and
relevance to the industry.
CombiCult is a bead-based high-throughput screening system for
fast discovery of stem cell differentiation protocols. All types of
stem cells, including embryonic and adult stem cells, can be used on
During screening, beads seeded with stem cells are shuffled
randomly through differentiation media, with the consequent
discovery of the best performing combinations of growth factors and
The upgraded CombiCult system features new custom-built
disposable labware for stem cell culture, allowing scientists to
carry out all bead manipulations and media changes in a single
device. In addition, the workflow now features integrated modules
for automated bead sorting and fluorescent label deconvolution.
Novel proprietary bioinformatics software has been added for data
handling and analysis. The various enhancements eliminate the need
for technically skilled operators while increasing screening
Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at University
College London commented on the performance of the new system: "Our
group at UCL has beta-tested improvements to the CombiCult system
and we have noted substantial increases in the speed and ease with
which data is generated and analysed.
"We have used CombiCult numerous times for the rapid
determination of novel and efficient protocols for ES cell
differentiation. The second generation system is a remarkably
powerful screening method, specifically for stem cell
differentiation, which has clear advantages over both manual and
Dr Lilian Hook, Principal Stem Cell Scientist at Plasticell,
said, "We are extremely pleased with the speed and ease with which
the new system has discovered and optimised new serum- and protein-
free media formulations for the differentiation of various cell
types. The company is currently in discussions to out-license
several proprietary, high performance and GMP-compliant media
discovered in this way."
Dr Yen Choo, CEO of Plasticell remarked: "We have invested
significantly over the past two years in developing further
enhancements to our original product offering, resulting in a higher
throughput, more user-friendly CombiCult system that is no longer
dependent on technically skilled operators. This will enable
Plasticell to increase its work throughput in-house, as well as to
export the technology off-site to clients’ research facilities.
"Whilst we already service a number of pharmaceutical and
biotechnology clients, we are intent on stepping up our marketing of
the new CombiCult system, with the aim of building alliances with
industry partners who presently lack in-house HTS capability for the
discovery of new and improved stem cell differentiation protocols."