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TTP sounds the future with the RAPid 4 biosensor launch

By Dr Matt Wilkinson , 08-Aug-2008

TTP LabTech has launched the RAPid 4 - a flow-based biosensor that can conduct real-time label-free molecular interaction analysis in buffered solutions and in complex biological mixtures.

The RAPid 4 uses ‘resonant acoustic profiling’ (RAP), a technique that uses the piezoelectrical effect to detect the presence of molecules binding to the quartz crystal sensor chip by measuring the change in the crystal’s oscillating frequency.

According to the company, it is ideally suited for characterising biopharmaceuticals during development, offering a ‘sound alternative’ to conventional optical biosensors and can generate accurate kinetic, affinity and concentration measurements from complex mixtures, such as culture medium, serum and cell lysates.

The RAPid 4 will enter a market place dominated by GE Healthcare’s Biacore SPR (surface plasmon resonance) – based biosensors which were first introduced nearly 20 years ago.

“We see the technology as an alternative to existing biosensors and the instrument’s sensitivity is comparable to the market leading products,” said Helge Schnerr, product manager at TTP LabTech.

“The RAP technology has a substantial advantage over optical instruments as it can analyse crude samples removing the need for extensive pre-assay sample purification or post-assay calibration routines.”

RAPid 4 is designed to analyse up to 4 samples or combinations of samples and control materials in parallel, typically processing an average of 350 samples per day. The instrument is a fully automated platform, which requires minimal user intervention and runs unattended for up to 72 hours.

Target molecules are immobilised to the quartz sensors in the systems 4 flow cells using either chemical binding or capture methods.

If a binding partner for the target molecule binds to the functionalised surface a mass change occurs leading to an alteration in the frequency of oscillation proportional to the number of molecules attached and the mass of those molecules.

The direct detection of the association and dissociation of molecules on the quartz crystal surface not only enables the characterisation of protein interactions but also to accurately determine the concentration of target molecules across a broad, 3-log dynamic range.

“The RAPid 4 can be used for detecting if cloned cell lines express a desired protein, and optimising the protein production and purification processes”, said Schnerr.

“The system can also be used during antibody development and is particularly useful when checking for cross-reactivity of proteins that can cause off-target effects.”

The technology was licensed by TTP from Inverness Medical Innovations (IMI) earlier this year for application in the drug discovery and life science arenas, while IMI has retained the rights to develop the technology for diagnostic products.

The RAP technology was launched in 2006 by Akubio, which was acquired by IMI last year. As a wider part of the deal, TTP acquired the design, manufacturing, and marketing rights to the RAPid 4 instrument, together with associated sensors and consumables.

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