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All-optical assays

The drug discovery industry is facing immense pressure to develop better drugs in a less costly way.


Drugs fail for two reasons: they do not work, and they are no safe.  When such drugs are identified during pre-clinical drug screening, funds and resources can be re-routed and dedicated to drugs that do work and are safe.  This “fail fast, fail cheap” paradigm, can save time and money, resulting in less expensive, more efficient drugs delivered to patients much faster.

The orthogonal way of improving the predictiveness of screening assays is to ensure that in vitro conditions are resembling in vivo conditions as close as possible.

For example, in a human body, cells respond dynamically to environmental stimuli by changing their functional states. At the same time, during screening assays, cells are “static”, and the assay data are acquired either from cells at one functional state or at an ensemble average of randomly occurring heterogeneous states.

Since the effect of a drug often varies depending on the functional state of the targeted cell, the predictive values of such assays are greatly limited.

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The solution to this problem is to dynamically provide stimulation signals to cells while monitoring their responses to drugs during kinetic screening assays. 

 Such “built-in” cell stimulation will enable the discovery of use-dependent drugs and significantly increase the predictive values of drug screening assays by reducing false positive/false negative hits. 


Our GraMOS technology provides the ability to optical stimulate cells without any interference with the optical recording modality.  In other words, our G-plates can enable all-optical assays.

To accomplish this goal, Nanotools Bioscience is developing specialized nanotechnology-based cell culture microplates with “built-in” optical stimulation capabilities to provide dynamic optical stimulation of genetically intact cells during high-throughput screening drug discovery campaigns. Our cell-stimulating microplates are expected to have a transformative effect on drug discovery by

  • leading to the identification and validation of new therapeutic targets;

  • enabling the discovery of new drugs with complex activity-dependent mechanisms of actions that can only be discovered when cells are activated during screening assays;

  • making the drug discovery process profoundly faster and cheaper.


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