Equipment from California-based Labcyte use acoustic energy to eject droplets and are most useful in the 2.5 to 200 nanolitre range. Whereas Deerac, owned by Allegro Technologies, and operated out of Dublin, Ireland, manufacture products that work best in the 50 nanolitre to 20 microlitre range. As life science researchers continually strive to cut down on costs while maintaining standards, firms are increasingly trying to perform larger numbers of assays for the same money. One relatively simple way of doing this is to cut down the amount of liquid used. As well as saving money, this also cuts down on waste. Since the firms machines are used for different volumes, their applications also vary. However, they are sometimes used together, for example when different components of an assay are required in different amounts. The Deerac technology was conceived at Trinity College Dublin and utilises a patented feedback controlled system to deliver liquids. The two firms have worked together in the past - using each other machines and running joint seminars and so the merger may not come as a surprise to many. Labcyte researchers found that Deerac's Latitude could double the throughput of our their POD 810 plate assembler for assay plate preparation for example. Labcyte's CEO Dr Elaine Heron also said Deerac's location played a role in the decision. "Having research and manufacturing groups in Dublin gives us a solid base from which to support our growing business in Europe," she explained. As well as providing a base for Labcyte, Deerac's genomics experience - in genotyping, PCR set-up and sequencing - can offer the firm a way to expand the applications of its Echo systems beyond high-throughput screening, miniaturization and reagent micro-transfers. "We are excited to become part of the business that has brought acoustic droplet ejection from a concept to a mainstream product used by most pharmaceutical companies," said Dr Jürgen Osing, the MD at Deerac Fluidics. Thermo snap up liquid handling firm At the LabAutomation 2008 conference, being held this week in California, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced that it had bought liquid handling consumables firm nAscent BioSciences. The acquired firm's products, which include the PocketTip pipette tip, will be integrated into Thermo's existing liquid handling consumables business. PocketTip technology combines nanoliter metering with microliter diluting in a pipette tip for most commercially available liquid handling automated platforms.