Why Switch to Picodroplet Technology for Antibody Discovery

Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

Why Switch to Picodroplet Technology for Antibody Discovery

By Pharma Tech Outlook | Thursday, December 17, 2020

To accelerate antibody discovery and development, pioneering biopharmaceutical firms are applying powerful picdroplet technology.

FREMONT, CA: This increased focus on drug discovery raises the pressure to mitigate discovery and development timelines, resulting in the demand for more efficient screening and more precise methods for antibody production. Current methods used in antibody discovery like hybridomas, humanization of rodent antibodies, and display technologies and established with proven success rates. However, the semi-automated technologies currently used are not efficient enough to meet the increasing demand for new therapeutics, being time-consuming, resource-intensive, and with a low screening throughput of antibody-secreting cells. Therefore, there is an urgent need for novel technologies to allow the high-throughput screening, identification, and isolation of antibodies. Here enters picodroplet technology.

Harnessing the proprietary picodroplet-based technology can encapsulate and fastly screen antibodies from whole B cell repertoires or hybridoma populations while guarding cell viabilities. Leveraging this robust and high-throughput method, researchers can find antibody-secreting cells and isolate rare cells secreting antigen-specific antibodies merely in 1-2 days. Picodroplet microfluidics functions on the encapsulation of a single cell within a picolitre volume water-in-oil emulsion droplet picodroplet. Picodroplets supply a special microenvironment for every cell, where secreted biomolecules and proteins can be trapped and assayed. Encapsulation in picodroplets makes sure that the concentration of the molecules secreted by the cell increases rapidly and guards single cells against shear stress, thereby overcoming some of the significant flow cytometry barriers fluorescence-activated cell sorting.

As mentioned, one of the benefits of conducting assays in picodroplets is that picodroplets are about 5-6 orders smaller than volumes in traditional assays. So the concentration of secreted antibodies from a single cell in a picodroplet is about 5-6 orders of magnitude bigger, resulting in a highly concentrated assay that uses a fraction of the number of reagents overall streamlining efficiency and shortening assay time dramatically.

The cell-friendly environment of the picodroplet is another advantage. When a picodroplet forms, it encapsulates a single cell with a culture medium which provides a protective capsule, which helps cell integrity as they travel through the microfluidic channels. The picodroplet shields cells against shear stress, and the bio-compatible surfactants leveraged in picodroplet formation promote high levels of oxygen concentration and gas exchange.

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