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Press Release - September 5, 2017

Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2017

Yokogawa Releases CellVoyager® CV8000 High-throughput Cytological Discovery System
- For the faster discovery of new drugs and improved efficiency in biomedical research -

CellVoyager CV8000

CellVoyager CV8000

Yokogawa Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6841) announces the release of the CellVoyager® CV8000, a high-throughput cytological discovery system with enhanced functions.

The CV8000 features a cell incubator with an improved airtight design that facilitates the observation of cell behavior over long periods of time. In addition, the CV8000 comes with CellPathfinder, a new program that can analyze images of unlabeled cells and 3D images of samples. With these features, the CV8000 improves the efficiency of drug discovery research and biomedical research on leading-edge subjects such as iPS and ES cells.

Yokogawa will be displaying the CV8000 at the SLAS Europe High-Content Screening Conference 2017, which is to be held September 19 - 20 in Madrid, Spain. The organizer of this event, the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), is world-renowned in the life science field.

Development Background

High content analysis (HCA) systems that can identify new drug candidates by screening up to a million separate compounds are entering wide use in the drug discovery field. With HCA, cells are treated with candidate compounds, the cells are imaged by a microscope camera, and the images are analyzed to determine how the cells reacted to the compounds. HCA systems are in high demand because they can carry out the test sequence automatically. By thus speeding up the screening process, they are able to quickly analyze large numbers of candidate compounds.

To determine the efficacy of candidate compounds and the mechanism of their effects, cells must also be observed over a long period of time. Accordingly, researchers who use HCA systems need for them to provide an environment that enables cells to be incubated and observed for long periods.

Organelles such as nuclei and mitochondria are often labeled with fluorescent dyes to make them easier to observe under a microscope, but this sometimes has a harmful effect on the cells. To enable the observation of living cells, there is an increasing need for alternatives to the fluorescent labeling technique. Elimination of the time-consuming labeling process also would considerably improve throughput. However, it is difficult to automatically analyze images of unlabeled cells because of their low image contrast. The CV8000 was developed to address such needs.

Product Features

  1. Improved incubation environment for the long-term observation of living cells
    A stage incubator for the incubation of cells is available for use with CellVoyager series systems. The cells are cultured in hundreds of wells on micro well plates, and are treated with compounds that are dispensed using a special mechanism. Although the earlier version of this mechanism was capable of dispensing candidate compounds to each of the wells while images of the cells were being captured, it was designed in such a way that it was difficult to achieve an airtight seal in the cell incubator. To achieve a tighter seal, Yokogawa has redesigned this mechanism. As a result, CO2 can be maintained at a constant level, allowing the cells in the wells to be incubated in a more uniform environment. Thus, the CV8000 is ideal for applications such as the observation of the kinetics and proliferation of living cancer cells after treatment with different compounds or the introduction of genetic modifications, as well as rapid phenomena such as the pulsation of living cardiac muscle cells.
  2. Software for analyzing images of unlabeled cells and 3D images of samples
    The CellPathfinder image analysis software was developed for the CV8000. Through the use of machine learning algorithms, this software is capable of recognizing and analyzing patterns in images of unlabeled cells taken with bright-field microscopes*1. This function uses an image analysis technology that Yokogawa developed in 2015 based on a technology transferred from the Finnish company Chip-Man Technologies. With this function, multiple overlapping bright-field images of cells taken at various distances are combined to produce a high-contrast image. This clearly visualizes cell profiles without the need for phase-contrast lenses*2. Furthermore, by using the new pattern recognition function with these images, it is possible to accurately analyze changes in cell proliferation that occur over time. This software also has a 3D image analysis function for the observation of cells that are being grown under 3D-conditions similar to a natural environment. This function makes it easy to quantify cell aggregate volume, surface area, and location. CellPathfinder can also be used with Yokogawa's CQ1 confocal quantitative image cytometer for the high-precision quantification of cells.
  3. Quick imaging of multicolor-labeled cells
    For imaging, cell organelles such as nuclei and mitochondria are labeled with different fluorescent dyes, and each of the fluorescent dyes is excited by a laser set to the corresponding wavelength. To capture images of these organelles, a separate camera is required for each fluorescent dye. If an HCA system does not have multiple cameras, imaging must be repeated for each wavelength. The CV8000 can accommodate four cameras (up from three for the CellVoyager CV7000). Since cells are usually labeled with no more than four colors, the CV8000 can capture images in one shot. Compared to the CV7000, this reduces the amount of time required for a four-color image by at least 20%. Moreover, continuous shooting enables observation of the rapid changes in cells that occur just after a compound is administered.

    The number of laser wavelengths that can be selected has been increased from four to five. And while offering a number of powerful new functions, the CV8000 also has a 40% smaller footprint and weighs 20% less than the CellVoyager CV7000.
  4. Pinhole-sized Nipkow disk with industry-leading performance
    The CellVoyager series uses microlens-enhanced Nipkow confocal disks*3. The CV8000 can accept disks with two different pinhole diameters: 25 μm and 50 μm. The 25 μm disk enables high-definition observation of cell structures, and the conventional 50 μm disk is suited for observing cells with weak fluorescence. Depending on conditions, users can select the appropriate disk to obtain clear images.

Main Target Markets

Research and development departments of pharmaceutical companies, drug discovery research institutions, and biomedical basic research organizations

Applications

Screening of candidate compounds for new drugs, regenerative medicine and drug discovery application research with iPS/ES cells, analysis of cell functions, study of tissue formation

CellVoyager

A high throughput screening (HTS) system performs high-speed screening of candidate compounds for new drugs. There are several methods for screening. High content analysis (HCA) is a high-precision, objective screening method that uses multiple parameters to analyze microscope images of the target cell and thus determine temporal changes within the cell, and an HCA system utilizes this screening method. Yokogawa's CellVoyager is an HCA system with screening throughput similar to that of an HTS system. For the observation of multiple samples at high speeds, it utilizes a confocal scanner unit that is capable of observing live cells in real time and a drive mechanism that uses a high-precision positioning technology. (This technology was originally developed for the manufacturing of semiconductors, LCD panels, and the like.) Yokogawa released the first generation CellVoyager CV6000 in 2009 and the CellVoyager CV7000 in 2011. With its industry-leading screening speed*4 and resolution*4 and its capability to continuously acquire images for the observation of changes in cells before and after treatment with compounds, CellVoyager has been helping to speed up the discovery of new drugs and improve efficiency in biomedical research.

*1 A widely used type of microscope that uses a lamp to illuminate samples that are not labeled with fluorescent dyes

*2 A type of lens that is used together with a bright-field microscope to enable the high-contrast observation of otherwise transparent objects

*3 A disk with multiple pinholes placed in spiral patterns to focus laser beams

*4 Based on a September 2017 Yokogawa market survey

For more information

About Yokogawa

Yokogawa's global network of 113 companies spans 60 countries. Founded in 1915, the US$3.5 billion company engages in cutting-edge research and innovation. Yokogawa is active in the industrial automation and control (IA), test and measurement, and aviation and other businesses segments. The IA segment plays a vital role in a wide range of industries including oil, chemicals, natural gas, power, iron and steel, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, and food. Targeting this segment, Yokogawa helps companies maximize their profits by offering a wide range of highly reliable products and working with the subsidiary KBC Advanced Technologies to provide premium solutions and services. For more information about Yokogawa, please visit www.yokogawa.com.

The names of corporations, organizations, and products herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.


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