Dr. Barbara Mayer, SpheroTec GmbH, Martinsried/Munich, Germany

Biologicals are therapeutics developed by a biological process, which is contrary to chemically synthesized drugs. Biologicals are isolated from genetically modified microbial cells, mammalian cell lines and plant cell cultures. The first biological on the market was human insulin in 1982 made via recombinant DNA technology. Since then the number of biological approved dramatically increased having a deep impact in various medical fields, especially in metabolism, rheumatology, neurology and oncology. Major kinds of biological include blood factors, thrombolytic agents, hormones, haematopoetic growth factors, vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. Development, production and commercialization of biologicals are time consuming, costly and strongly regulated.

Michael Beier, Integra Bioscience AG, Zizers, Switzerland

Screening applications are no longer limited to specialized high throughput labs and the requirements for liquid handling systems change as hand pipettes can no longer keep up. Until now, the typical step-up was to go for a pipetting robot. But for many laboratories this is not always the optimal solution. Novel bench-top 96- and 384-channel pipettes have evolved to bridge this gap. They are easy to use, small and increase sample throughput significantly.

Sönke Bahrs, CyBio AG, Jena, Germany

Der CyBi®-FeliX ist eine kompakte Liquid Handling Plattform mit austauschbaren Pipettierköpfen und 12 Deckpositionen auf 2 Ebenen für Mikroplatten, Reservoire, Spitzen, Tubes und vielfältiges Zubehör. Damit bietet der CyBi®-FeliX die idealen Voraussetzungen für das automatisierte Befüllen, Kopieren und Reformatieren von Mikroplatten wie auch für die Durchführung serieller Verdünnungen und individueller Transfers in Reihen, Spalten und einzelnen Wells in einem breiten Volumenbereich.

Dr. Hans-Willi Krell, MAB Discovery, Neuried/Munich, Germany

Therapeutic antibodies have been established as a valuable alternative to classical low molecular drug treatment due to their high target specificity. The high number of antibodies in the clinical development should not delude that there are still major challenges in the development of therapeutic antibodies leading to rather high attrition rates due to poor (pre-) clinical efficacy and technical issues in development. Most antibody programs suffer from a rather limited number of candidates the clinical candidate needs to be selected from. Therefore starting the therapeutic antibody development with a high number of diverse functional antibodies can significantly minimize the risk of failure.

Dr. Georg Fertig, Roche, Penzberg, Germany

Monoclonal antibodies are meanwhile the most target specific drugs on the market. Due to this, the failure during preclinical and early stage development is low compared to small molecules, which makes them very attractive. Nevertheless, the molecules have to be selected very carefully and small differences in binding behavior could lead to dramatic differences in the mode of action and efficacy. This was for example shown very clearly during preclinical and later clinical phase III studies of Gazyva (Obinutuzumab) conducted in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).