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2018 SLAS New Product Award Winners Offer Tools for Success

Congratulations to FORMULATRIX (Bedford, MA), iotaSciences (Oxford, U.K.) and Labcyte (San Jose, CA) for taking home honors in the SLAS New Product Award Competition at SLAS2018. Advancements in digital PCR, single-cell and acoustic liquid handling provide new tools to elevate life sciences discovery and technology.

By The Lab Man
(AKA SLAS Director of Education Steve Hamilton)

SLAS2018 was held Feb. 3-7 in San Diego and attracted more than 6,600 participants from 40 countries. Participants were exposed to the latest and greatest products and services from 300+ multinational exhibitors. Fifty of these exhibitors entered the SLAS New Product Awards Competition, an annual program recognizing new products that are commercially available for purchase within 90 days pre- and post-conference that are making a significant impact in the transformation of research. Products are also considered for the SLAS New Product Awards if they have launched outside the 90-day window but have experienced major enhancements. Judges evaluate entries according to these criteria: market opportunity, impact, originality and proof of concept.

SLAS congratulates the following winners!


Interviewees:  Paul Ventura, director of sales; and Tom Rawlins, marketing manager

The CONSTELLATION Digital PCR System by FORMULATRIX is a novel plate-based and high-throughput workflow that mimics contemporary qPCR. It offers distinct plate types designed to accommodate a wide range of throughput and dynamic range requirements of applications from gene expression analysis to rare mutation detection. For higher throughput applications such as gene expression analysis, plates that accommodate 96 samples provide partitioning into 8,000 microfluidic chambers per sample. For more sensitive applications such as rare mutation detection, plates that divide 24 samples into 36,000 partitions per sample are available.

“The current approaches have been low-throughput, so we’ve been able to apply traditional liquid handling technologies into a workflow to eliminate variability from user to user to provide more precise science,” Ventura explains. “The instrument itself is a combination of three different platforms that are integrated robotically together and really separate us from the competition, giving the customer more affordable and higher-throughput technology that enables them to transition from traditional qPCR methodologies over to a digital format that provides a more quantitative and more accurate answer which is what the market is looking for.”

Listen to podcast.


iotaSciences for isoCell
Interviewee: Ed Walsh, associate professor at the University of Oxford and interim CEO of iotaSciences

With applications in single-cell cloning, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and cell-line development, iotaSciences’ isoCell product advances, automates and accelerates single-cell work using fluidic walls.

“isoCell was developed quite recently as a collaboration with pathology and engineering science at the University of Oxford,” Walsh says. “We identified the need for cloning single cells into colonies. One of the main problems with this is the edge effect – you must ensure that you have monoclonality in these processes. The isoCell emerged because we found a way to remove physical walls and replace them with fluid walls and thereby remove the edge effect for identifying a single cell.”

Listen to podcast.


Labcyte for Echo 655T Acoustic Liquid Handler
Interviewee: Iain Russell, senior product manager

Labcyte’s next evolution of the revolutionary Echo Liquid Handler Series, the Echo 655T Liquid Handler, offers all the benefits associated with non-contact liquid transfer with the new ability to transfer directly from Echo Qualified sample tubes. Ready to meet the needs of a wide variety of biochemical and cellular assays, it can transfer as little as 2.5 nL from 384-well and 1536-well microplates and now acoustic tubes arrayed in a 96-tube format.

“What’s unique about this product is we’ve extended the acoustic workflow to accommodate sample storage tubes that enable customers now to go to a completely acoustic workflow, giving them additional flexibility in terms of how they manage their samples going from the store all the way to assay-ready plates,” Russell says. “It also enables them to reduce the amount of time at some of those steps by reducing the amount of plates they have to process.”

Listen to podcast.


From Saturday’s Short Courses to Wednesday’s announcement of the 2018 SLAS Innovation Award winner, SLAS2018 participants were immersed in education, exploration and opportunities to connect with peers in charting the future of life sciences discovery and technology. Mark your calendar for SLAS2019, Feb. 2-6, Washington, DC.


About the Author

The Lab Man is SLAS Education Director Steve Hamilton, Ph.D. He is a creative change maker, delivering the fresh thinking and energy that has helped make SLAS the go-to resource for those in life sciences discovery and technology. After years in the drug discovery world, heading many leading-edge automation projects for companies such as Eli Lilly, Scitec and Amgen, Hamilton joined the SLAS professional team in 2010. He received his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Purdue University and a B.S. in chemistry from Southeast Missouri State University.

February 19, 2018