Roche´s xCELLigence RTCA HT System: Fully-automated Measurement of Therapeutic Targets` Cellular Activity

Penzberg, Germany, 16. Juni 2011


High throughput, real time impedance-based secondary screening of Ox1 GPCR hits

Label-free technologies have entered the stage of cellular drug discovery and high-throughput screening (HTS). For the measurement of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation electrical impedance represents an excellent universal readout technology, since different signaling pathways can be measured in one assay format using recombinant as well as primary cells. The recently developed xCELLigence RTCA HT Instrument from Roche Applied Science (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) now allows to perform fully-automated impedance screens for GPCRs and other targets in the 384-well high-throughput format.

In a recent case study (1), Urs Lüthi and John Gatfield from Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Allschwil, Switzerland, integrated 2 RTCA HT (real-time cell analyzer for high-throughput) Instruments on an automated high-throughput screening platform from Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, US). 263 antagonist hits of the orexin type 1 (Ox1) GPCR that had been identified in a classical calcium flux (FLIPR) HTS were screened for Ox1 inhibition in fully-automated RTCA HT assays. The overall performance, the quality of E-Plates 384 and intra- and inter-assay reproducibility were evaluated. 65% of the 263 antagonist hits were confirmed to be Ox1 receptor antagonists after impedance measurements. According to the researchers, the RTCA HT Instrument could be readily integrated into automated workflows and delivered a highly reproducible data set, making the RTCA HT Instrument a powerful screening technology.

Compared to standard readout technologies one of the major advantages of label-free technologies is that cellular processes are measured in real-time kinetics in a non-invasive manner. The xCELLigence System uses gold electrodes at the bottom surface of microplate wells as sensors to which an alternating current is applied. Cells that are grown as adherent monolayers on top of such electrodes influence the alternating current at the electrodes by changing the electrical resistance (impedance). The degree of this change is primarily determined by the number of cells, strength of the cell-cell interactions, interactions of the cells with the microelectrodes and by the overall morphology of the cells.  

(1) Lüthi and Gatfield (2011), European Biotech News No. 5-6, Vol. 10, p. 38.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information:

About Actelion

Actelion Ltd is a biopharmaceutical company with its corporate headquarters in Allschwil/Basel, Switzerland. Actelion's first drug Tracleer®, an orally available dual endothelin receptor antagonist, has been approved as a therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Actelion markets Tracleer® through its own subsidiaries in key markets worldwide, including the United States (based in South San Francisco), the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland. Actelion, founded in late 1997, is a leading player in innovative science related to the endothelium - the single layer of cells separating every blood vessel from the blood stream. Actelion's over 2,400 employees focus on the discovery, development and marketing of innovative drugs for significant unmet medical needs. Actelion shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ticker symbol: ATLN) as part of the Swiss blue-chip index SMI (Swiss Market Index SMI®).

For life science research only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
XCELLIGENCE is a trademark of Roche.
Tracleer is a trademark of Actelion.