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Agilent Technologies and A*STAR launch all-in-one drug screening platform

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) and A*STAR's Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC) today announced the launch of a drug screening platform within ETC's new Singapore Screening Centre. This partnership will provide a full spectrum of state-of-the-art automation technologies to biomedical researchers, enabling highly efficient drug screening in one location.

The Singapore Screening Centre conducts high-throughput screening to identify potential drug candidates against disease, using a library of over 300,000 chemical compounds. It now employs Agilent's dual BioCel 1200 integrated system, which automates and coordinates the various processes of high-throughput screening, including compound management, assay plate preparation and experiment replication, to ensure high-quality data while saving time and reducing the possibility of human error.

"The location of Agilent's technology platform within ETC's newly set up Singapore Screening Centre will not only enhance our ability to produce proprietary drugs for Singapore, but also enable us to engage a diversity of biomedical research players from across the world," said Dr. Alex Matter, CEO of ETC. "We expect collaborations with top private sector partners such as Agilent will go a long way to accelerate the development of medical solutions."

The centerpiece of Agilent's BioCel System is a Direct Drive Robot (DDR) that provides significant advantages in speed and ease of use with its one-touch teaching and innovative design. The BioCel system is also customised specifically to ETC's requirements, linking the instruments to ETC's laboratory information management system so that the BioCel database and sample inventory are synchronised and up to date.

The new platform will boost ongoing drug discovery projects at the Singapore Screening Center, including a collaboration with Duke University and the National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School to screen for novel gastric cancer medicines; and another with DSO National Laboratories and A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore to discover anti-bacterial drugs using a novel whole animal-screening platform.

"ETC is a leading research institution in Singapore and we look forward to working closely with them to collectively drive drug discovery research," said Yvonne Linney, vice president and general manager, Agilent Automation Solutions Group. "We continue to see growth and opportunities for automated solutions in both Asia and the pharmaceutical markets as a whole."

Singapore has built up strong scientific foundations and capabilities in translational and clinical research to support industry efforts to accelerate the drug discovery process with next-generation technologies. Today, leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies have invested in more than 50 commercial-scale facilities in Singapore. In 2009, Agilent opened a life sciences manufacturing facility in its Yishun, Singapore campus. The facility expanded Agilent's presence in the region and brought it closer to its Asia Pacific customer base.


Contact: Adela Foo
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

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