Joyce Johnson

Early 2020 - Refining the Innovation

In this series of blog posts, we will discuss the entire journey of Protein Stable and how our product SUPR-CM was born. It highlights the current needs in the market and how our plate reader technology is providing you with high throughput protein characterization using low sample volumes. We were excited for what was in store for us in this new year. The journey continues in this post as we worked towards keeping customers’ core needs our central focus and built a system making it easier for the user.

What could really be achieved to meet the market requirements and even exceed expectations? Sensitivity was the most common demand, but what does that mean? In science terms, it means use as little protein as possible because in general, it is both difficult and extremely expensive to produce protein in large quantities. With the use of microplates for both sample preparation and sample analysis without switching or loading other vessels, the SUPR-CM can use as little as 375ng protein per well for high-quality reproducible data. Moreover, because the sample is prepared and read on the same plate no extra and expensive consumables are required and the process is efficient due to fewer steps.

Whilst the innovation to read the samples directly in the microplate is a significant contributor to sample and cost reduction, it also has throughput benefits. Using the unique optical design and full-width spectrometer to take the measurements means the speed of data collection is fast. Very fast. Unlike a standard plate reader slowly inching through the wavelength range, the SUPR-CM reads all the required wavelengths in a matter of milliseconds. This means it can cover a full 384-well plate in as little as 2.5 minutes. As may be expected, there is flexibility here too and if higher sensitivities are required, the reading time can be extended to get the best signal to noise ratio, extending the full plate readout for a few more minutes, still many times faster than a conventional plate reader. In addition to speed, the spectrometer also adds the option to look at far more data than other systems acquire. This adds flexibility to the methods and data analysis, the rich data being informative of the experiment, rather than having a focus on just a couple of wavelengths.

Another key requirement from the market research was the flexibility of methods. When running chemical denaturation of proteins, it is important to understand that all proteins will equilibrate at different rates. Some simple globular proteins may well reach unfolding equilibrium in just a few hours whereas some monoclonal antibodies have been known to take over 24 hours. Existing systems available to you can be somewhat limited in the experimental run time and have fixed methods of just a few hours. Not really a problem if you want quick and qualitative results, but what about when you really want to understand what is going on? To get the best, most reproducible data, perhaps an accurate DG for example then you need to run to equilibrium. By facilitating off-instrument incubation after samples are prepared, the SUPR-CM gives you the choice.

Thus, by mid-year in 2020 the SUPR-CM had been designed, developed, and tested to meet or exceed market expectations and it was time to confirm those features with market testing and launch the system for sale.