A major problem for the pharmaceutical industry is the failure of promising drug candidates very late in the testing phases. Often, there are unpredicted side-effects and toxicity issues which limit or prevent a candidate molecule being taken to market. Such failures very late in the product development pipeline result in substantial increases in time and cost to the whole pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, which need additional drugs to increase their product portfolios and address a wider range of clinical conditions. Any testing regimes that can identify toxic molecules and exclude them from the screening programmes as early as possible will lead to significant time and cost savings.
Previous studies using imaging-based high content analysis have shown the possibility of its usage in toxicity screening. Traditional image-based systems have limited throughput capability which has prevented their use in primary toxicity screening campaigns. Here we describe a method for high content, high throughput toxicity screening in 384-well microplates for whole well scans on the acumen® Cellista, with a scan time of 10 minutes per plate which includes both data acquisition and analysis time.