Oak Ridge Labs test NanoArrayer

Related tags Molecule Dna

Bionanotechnology company Bioforce hasreached an agreement to field
test its transformational molecular printer, NanoArrayer, at the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, writes Wai Lang

The NanoArrayer creates molecular arrays that can be scanned using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) or other detection methods to analyze molecular recognition events and the effect of introduced agents on defined molecular interactions. This approach can be carried out in a high throughput format, allowing rapid screening of thousands of molecular species in a solid-state array.

The field-testing will involve working with Oak Ridge to test a pre-commercial format version of the NanoArrayer with a view to developing the commercial version. Oak Ridge is to use the NanoArrayer for ultra-precise deposition of molecules to facilitate several aspects of their own confidential research programs. The trial will begin in July and is expected to last for 4 months.

This evaluation will follow an earlier external trial, which took place in the laboratory of Dr Scott Lokey at UC Santa Cruz. The NanoArrayer was used for depositing ultra-microscale and nanoscale spots of proteins in precise patterns whilst retaining biological activity as part of his program on the development of nanostructures.

Dr Eric Henderson, founder & chief science officer of BioForce Nanosciences told DrugResearcher.com:"The NanoArrayer deposits materials with high precision on surfaces (and this can be visualised in real time using standard optics which are part of the instrument)."

"We have printed a variety of proteins, with focus on antibodies. The proteins printed include at least 20 different antibody species and about the same number of non-antibody antigenic proteins. The ability to deposit proteins and other biological molecules with this level of precision, while retaining biological function, is critical in the development of protein-based chips and ultra miniaturised protein-based diagnostics."

Henderson explained that existing microarraying methods required up to 10,000 times the amount of material, as do the arrays made possible by the NanoArrayer. With the ultra miniaturised format advantages in terms of sample needed (less than 1 microlitre for the entire nanoarray test) production cost reductions are realised.

"There are a few other methods for depositing materials on surfaces at this level of precision. We have lengthy experience with those methods and they fail for the types of molecules we use (e.g. proteins) and they also fall far short in terms of reproducibility and throughput required for a commercially viable instrument."

"We designed the NanoArrayer to excel at one thing - ultra-precise deposition of biomolecular and materials. We have patents issued and pending in this area and feel we were the first to identify the limitations of existing methods and develop the next generation of biomolecular printing technology."

The NanoArrayer is one of three seperate components that make up BioForce's NanoPro system. Along with the NanoArray, an ultra-miniaturised biological test, and the Nanoreader, a customised surface profiling device for reading NanoArray chips, the range of proprietary instrument/software was developed for biomedical and non-life science molecular arraying markets.

The device functions by placing molecules at defined locations on a surface with nanometer spatial resolution. The arrays of molecules (NanoArrays) are unique to BioForce​ and can only be created with a NanoArray.

The NanoArrayer requires very small quantities of a sample as its nanometer-scale resolution capabilities very small quantities of individual proteins can now be effectively screened against a large set of drug or diagnostic targets.

Henderson said: "Based on previous experience with new technologies such as the NanoArrayer, we anticipate that as the instrument gains use in research and industrial settings, new applications for it will emerge and thereby increase the market size."

Henderson explained that the NanoArrayer was at the last pre-commercial stage and prototype instruments have been available for field-testing for about a year and a half.

"These instruments have been used to fine-tune the various sub-components of the instrument and to test our specially micro fabricated deposition tools (the "molecular ink cartridges") for the NanoArrayer. In 2005 we will have a comprehensive package including the NanoArrayer (printer), Deposition Tools (ink cartridges) and Surfaces (paper)."

The NanoArrayer's capabilities will initially be aimed at researchers in academia and industry, expanding to a second tier of customers in industry as the instrument becomes accepted and applications for it begin to mature.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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