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Assay development and screening

CLS-logo.png We have extensive experience of in vitro screening and delivers customised, instructive and efficient screening programs to progress fully characterised hits through drug discovery programs.

We offer medium-throughput screening approaches using biophysical, biochemical, phenotypic and cell-based assays. Our technologies allow cost-effective identification of hit compounds from any type of compound library, including our proprietary fragment library.

Screening cascade development

Our Biology department designs custom, streamlined and informative screening cascades, providing consistently high quality, reliable data throughout the lifetime of a project.

Utilizing our wealth of diverse assay experience, we build cascades to include biochemical, biophysical, phenotypic and cellular screening assays and select relevant orthogonal techniques to quickly identify false positives.

We offer the flexibility to adjust and modify assays within a cascade to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective path is taken to progress the hit matter.

The suite of instruments available to us ensures highly accurate dosing by digital dispensing with minimal compound usage, and the ability to evaluate a wide range of assay readouts, including Fluorescence Polarization (FP), Homogeneous Time-Resolved Fluorescence (HTRF) and Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET). Data analysis is achieved through our bespoke software, which enables us to deliver clear, concise and informative reports to our clients.

Iterative screening

Our Biology team supports projects through the provision of consistent and robust iterative screening to ensure the most time- and cost-efficient design-make-test-analyze cycle.

Thanks to our co-location with our synthetic, medicinal, computational chemistry and ADMET colleagues, this cycle time is further reduced as no shipping of compounds between laboratories is required.

Our automated liquid-handling capabilities enable fast turnaround of routine screening data, whether test compounds are analyzed at a single concentration or over a full concentration range to generate dose-response curves and IC50 data. Our expertise in a large number of assay formats ensures we can combine multiple binding, activity and cellular assays to identify and optimize compounds for further development.

Fragment screening

We have extensive capabilities in fragment-based drug discovery, offering access to expertise in screening, as well as computational and medicinal chemistry.

Our bespoke fragment library contains around 1500 compounds with hundreds of unique structures. A comprehensive suite of biophysical instrumentation means we can offer orthogonal fragment screening for customized fragment-based lead discovery programs across a wide array of target types.

Our fragment-based lead discovery platform provides access to a number of biophysical technologies such as biosensors (Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and Grating-Coupled Interferometry (GCI), Microscale Thermophoresis (MST) and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), as well as orthogonal biochemical or cellular activity assays.

Due to our co-location with both computational and medicinal chemistry support, we are able to expedite fragment hit expansion and optimization, ensuring hit-to-lead time is as short as possible.

Phenotypic screening

Our immunology expertise enables us to offer high-throughput phenotypic screening of both small molecules and biologics for their ability to drive phenotypic and functional immune cell changes, particularly in the tumor microenvironment.

Using the latest technology and automated platforms, custom assays can be miniaturized to 384-well plate approaches and high-content, multiplexed analysis performed producing fast, robust results.

Screening capabilities

Fragment screening capabilities

  • Digital dispensing for accurate dosing with minimal compound usage
  • Liquid handling robotics for time-efficient and robust assay set-up
  • Biochemical and cellular assays with readouts including
    • FI
    • Absorbance
    • Luminescence
    • FP
    • HTRF
    • FRET/BRET
  • Biophysical assays including biosensors (GCI, SPR, MST and ITC)
  • Co-location with medicinal and computational chemistry for rapid hit expansion and optimization


Phenotypic screening capabilities

  • Access to healthy and diseased tissue samples
  • Extensive primary cell experience for when speed of sampling and isolation is key
  • A range of readouts to address your scientific question including
    • qPCR
    • Single-cell RNA sequencing
    • ELISA/Multiplex
    • Flow cytometry