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LIVC technology: A glowing review
FRANKFURT, Germany—IonGate Biosciences GmbH and LIVC Technologies GmbH, both located in Frankfurt, Germany, in early September announced a collaboration deal for jointly developing and marketing the proprietary light-induced voltage clamp (LIVC) technology, a proprietary technology that can initiate and measure voltage-activated ion channels via light induction. The companies describe it as working "similar to a remote control" and adding that it "ensures high precision and high throughput with maximum flexibility." Financial terms and other specifics of the business arrangement have not yet been released.
LIVC introduces a voltage activation source into cells expressing voltage-gated ion channels, explains Wolfgang Lerch, managing director of IonGate. "This allows activation of these targets under fully physiological conditions," he notes. "This can be done today only by using automated patch clamp, which still has a very limited throughput. By using fluorescence detection this high-quality assay can be coupled to high throughput. The result is a dramatically increased assay quality with increased throughput and reduced assay cost."
The use of the LIVC technology will lead to a suite of products ranging from expression kits to fully characterized, ready-to-screen assay kits," Lerch says. In collaboration with partners, dye-sets and instrumentation will be made available.
The companies also plan to combine the LIVC technology with IonGate's SurfE2R (Surface Electrogenic Event Reader) workstation, which measures the activity of cell transporters and ion pumps by detecting electric charges.
The companies plan to have their first product offerings toward the second half of 2008, but because they will work in close collaboration with various customers on the new technology, some companies will likely have access to tailored products before wider market entry of new offerings.
Lerch says LIVC constitutes a high-quality, high-throughput screening technology for voltage-gated ion channels that will be particularly useful in drugs for neurological conditions, the heart and similar applications.
"These channels are known to be excellent targets in various disease areas such as CNS and cardiovascular diseases," he says. "These indication areas will be able to revolutionize their discovery process by increasing the primary screening information content and thereby reducing subsequent research steps significantly."