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Scripps Florida Opens Its Cutting-edge Screening Technology to Florida Scientists

"Access to Technologies" Program Designed to Speed Biomedical Research

Jupiter, FL, January 20, 2006—Officials at Scripps Florida today announced the launch of the biomedical research institute's "Access to Technologies" program, which invites scientists from Florida universities and other academic research institutions to use state-of-the-art screening technologies at Scripps Florida's facilities in Jupiter for qualifying projects.

Access to Scripps Florida's new High Throughput Screening (HTS) operation, similar to that used widely by the pharmaceutical industry, should speed up the process of discovering new drugs to treat a variety of human illnesses.

"Inviting our state's outstanding scientists to share in the extraordinary technologies available at Scripps Florida is another example of how our investment in biomedical research is contributing to the biomedical knowledge base here," said Florida Governor Jeb Bush. "This program will pay off academically, economically, and ultimately lead to better health for Floridians and people everywhere." 

"Science is always advanced through sharing," said Richard A. Lerner, M.D., president of the Scripps Florida's parent institution, The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. "I'm convinced that sharing our technologies with researchers throughout Florida will quicken the pace of progress, further challenging both them and us to find answers to difficult health questions."

Key components of the HTS process include the institute's cutting-edge screening system, purchased for Scripps Florida by Kalypsys of La Jolla, California, the first technology to be made available to academic scientists outside Scripps Florida or Scripps Research in California. These automated robots quickly determine and analyze the biological or biochemical activity of a large number of drug-like compounds, useful in discovering pharmacological targets or pharmacologically profiling a cellular or biochemical pathway of promise.

Typically, HTS assays are performed in sets of either 96 or 384 samples on each automation-friendly plate. The Scripps Florida technology can use plates that can hold up to 1,536 samples at a time, quickening the pace of analysis and discovery. The robots are two of only a handful of such machines in nonprofit research institutions. The facility also has several other robots that help scientists develop experiments suitable for the Kalypsys system.

Gaining Access to Scripps Florida Technologies

Florida researchers can begin the process by visiting the Scripps Florida Access to Technologies website, http://www.scripps.edu/florida/technologies/hts, which provides a description of the services available and instructions for completing a project submission form.

Scripps Florida scientists will evaluate each project for applicability to the HTS process, then notify the applicant of the project's status (approved, not approved, or further information required). Approved projects will then be scheduled, within the limits of time available for use of the technology and other resources.  Once an institution's project is approved, the organization will be asked to complete appropriate agreements, submit materials, and begin the project.

At project completion, an electronic file containing the HTS data and compound structures will be sent to the originating institution.

About the Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Florida

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and Palm Beach County, Florida, is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations.  It stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

Scripps Florida will be a 350,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research institute in Palm Beach County.  Scripps Florida is now operating with more than 160 researchers and technicians at a 41,000 square-foot facility on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. An additional 33,000 square-foot temporary facility is under construction. Scripps Florida will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development, employing more than 500 researchers and support staff by 2010. Palm Beach County and the State of Florida have provided start-up economic incentives for development, building, staffing, and equipping the campus.

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