Cellectricon: Cellaxess® Elektra — Fully Automated Workstation for Transfection of Biologically Relevant Cell Types

Our client was looking to expand the market of their Cellaxess in-plate electroporation technology by developing an instrument for automated high throughput electroporation of adherent cells for use in drug discovery screening.

Automated Cell Processing in Fully Closed Consumables
Cellaxess® Elektra

Invetech took the existing Cellaxess technology — a manual system enabling electroporation of three wells at a time in 96 round-well micro-titre plates, and miniaturised and multiplied it, allowing fully automated concurrent electroporation of 96 wells at a time in 384 square-well micro-titre plates.

Each electroporation tip has to provide a precise tip-well bottom gap of just 75µm, and be independently compliant to accommodate well bottom height variations whilst providing one fluid and two electrical connections.

Our challenge was to develop an instrument that would:

  • Allow automated high throughput electroporation,
  • cope with variations in micro-titre plate flatness and position
  • reliably engage all 96 electroporation tips with wells of close to the same size,
  • be able to also perform associated fluid handling on the same instrument,
  • use an off-the-shelf liquid handling platform to minimise time to market while providing the instrument with Cellectricon’s own industrial design and appearance, and
  • provide application-specific user-interface software.

Our team assisted with definition and refinement of instrument requirements and systematically identified and prioritised detailed design challenges including:

  • The selection of the most suitable OEM liquid handling platform to meet instrument goals,
  • adapting to evolving instrument needs,
  • the detailed design, construction and verification of prototypes, and
  • the transfer to manufacture.

The final product was a breakthrough in drug discovery screening technology to aid the drug discovery process. The Cellaxess® Elektra opened up a new market for our client and enabled a new revenue stream through consumable sales.