Groundbreaking 768AS(TM) Robotics System Integrates NMR Sample Processing With Laboratories' Current Workflow
MONTEREY, Calif., April 20, 2004
Today at the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC) in Monterey, California, Varian, Inc. debuted the first-ever commercial system capable of automatically processing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) sample tubes using the standard 96-sample format. The new 768AS(TM) instrument was specifically designed to replace the current protocol that requires operators to manually introduce NMR tubes into specific holders, called turbines, prior to analysis.
Using novel robotics that boast a high precision XYZ axis movement, the 768AS system optimizes the use of common format laboratory consumables such as the 96-sample rack to allow NMR sample processing to integrate seamlessly with other laboratory sample handling techniques. For reasonable amounts of small organic molecules, such as the products of parallel synthesis, the 768AS when linked to a Unity(R) NOVA(R) or Mercury(R)PLUS NMR spectrometer can generate NMR spectra at the rate of one sample every 70-80 seconds and can handle up to 768 samples in a single run. This offers a major productivity increase compared to current automation systems that can handle only about 100 samples per run.
"While NMR users can gain benefit by increasing sensitivity through specific products, such as Cold Probes, additional major time savings can be wrung out by examining our customers' work flow and developing technologies more suited to standard laboratory practices," said Iain Green, product manager, Small Molecule, NMR Systems, Varian, Inc. "We developed this system to eliminate the time consuming manual steps required by other NMR automation products and to deliver a system that would re-define the level of efficiency that can be achieved."
The company's new 768AS completely automates the analysis process. It moves the NMR tube from its location in a 96-sample rack, past a barcode reading station for quality control, and then into the magnet before returning it. Features of the 768AS include a Peltier cooling system to maintain sample integrity over long runs, a key benefit for protein and metabolite analyses as these samples are prone to degradation. To enhance throughput productivity, the system intelligently heats the queued sample while one is being processed to reduce any warm up time during actual analysis.
In addition to fitting into a laboratory's workflow, the system can also be installed within most laboratory spaces. Its footprint is similar to currently available XYZ enabled autosamplers but it has been engineered to accurately analyze roughly four times as many samples in a single run. The entire system is powered by Varian's VnmrJ(TM) software that has tools specifically designed for this new style of high-speed, multiple sample batch processing, such as those that can download experiment lists from LIMS databases.
"As part of Varian's overall strategy to make our information-rich detection technology, such as NMR, easier to use and more productive, we set out to build the easiest-to-use NMR sample handling system that would deliver real productivity gains by automating all the processing movements, while maintaining sample integrity over the run period," said Jan Tschida, vice president and general manager, NMR Systems, Varian, Inc. "NMR is Varian, Inc.'s flagship technology, and through dedicated innovation we are continuing to expand the potential and utility of this important technique for structural analysis."
NMR is the preferred non-destructive technique for mapping molecular structures and learning how molecules function and relate to each other. It is used as a workhorse technology by pharmaceutical and life science researchers for organic synthesis analysis, protein structure, function, and dynamics. Additionally, it is a highly useful tool for metabolite profiling, especially as it relates to uncovering potentially toxic side effects of a new drug candidate. Varian, Inc. was the first company to patent NMR technology for its value in understanding the molecular structure of compounds. Today, it is a global leader in NMR spectrometers with an installed base of more than 3,000 systems worldwide.
Varian's 768AS has been developed with input from pharmaceutical companies and major academic research institutions. It is ready for immediate order, with delivery within five months.
Varian's NMR spectrometers are among the company's information-rich detection offerings, which provide users with multi-dimensional layers of knowledge. Varian is focused on making information-rich detectors more accessible and usable, and the new 768AS robotic system fits into that strategy.
For More Information:
About Varian, Inc.
Varian, Inc. is a major supplier of scientific instruments, vacuum technologies, and specialized contract electronics manufacturing services. These businesses serve a broad range of life science and industrial customers worldwide. The company manufactures in 14 locations in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim and employs some 4,300 people. Varian, Inc. had fiscal year 2003 sales of $848 million. Additional information about Varian is available at www.varianinc.com. Also, a basic overview of NMR technology, including a FLASH demonstration of how an NMR spectrometer works, can be found at http://www.varianinc.com/corp/businesses/nmr/index.html
# # #