The Scripps Research Molecular Screening Center (SRMSC) was founded in 2004 and comprises more than $22 million of specialized automation. As part of the Translational Research Institute (TRI), it comprises early drug discovery labs and medicinal chemistry.
Together with Scripps Research at the La Jolla, California, campus, this represents one of the most competitive academic industrial screening centers worldwide. The SRMSC uses automated platforms, one a screening cell and the other a cherry-picking platform. Matched technologies are available throughout Scripps to allow scientists to develop assays and prepare them for automated screening. The library comprises more than 1 million drug-like compounds, including a proprietary collection of >665,000 molecules. Internal chemistry has included ~40,000 unique compounds that are not found elsewhere.
These collections are screened against a myriad of disease targets, including cell-based and biochemical assays that are provided by Scripps faculty or from global investigators. Scripps has proven competence in all detection formats, including high-content analysis, fluorescence, bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET), time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET), fluorescence polarization (FP), luminescence, absorbance, AlphaScreen, and Ca++ signaling. These technologies are applied to NIH-derived collaborations as well as biotech and pharma initiatives.
The SRMSC and TRI are recognized for discovering multiple leads, including Ozanimod.
The prevailing philosophy in biological testing has been to focus on simple tests with easy to interpret information such as ELISA or lateral flow assays.
At the same time, there has been a decades long understanding in device physics and nanotechnology that electrical approaches have the potential to drastically improve the quality, speed, and cost of biological testing provided that computational resources are available to analyze the resulting complex data.
This concept can be conceived of as “the internet of biology” in the same way miniaturized electronic sensors have enabled “the internet of things.” It is well established in the nanotechnology literature that techniques such as field effect biosensing are capable of rapid and flexible biological testing.
Until now, access to this new technology has been limited to academic researchers focused on bioelectronic devices and their collaborators. Here we show that this capability is retained in an industrially manufactured device, opening access to this technology generally.
Access to this type of production opens the door for rapid deployment of nanoelectronic sensors outside the research space. The low power and resource usage of these biosensors enables biotech engineers to gain immediate control over precise biological and environmental data.