The success of Risdiplam (Evrysdi) opened the small molecule field to the possibility of targeting RNA, therefore expanding beyond the classical drug space towards previously considered undruggable targets. However, challenges are associated with this new possibility and include the redefinition of chemical libraries, the generation of reliable prediction algorithms, the development of relevant scalable assays, and the establishment of new automated screening workstreams.
At Roche we developed a qPCR based screening workstream that allows us to tackle this task. We built a reader-feeder qPCR module that can be dynamically associated to our HTS system for all pre-qPCR processing. We also developed a dedicated analysis workflow to enable handling of large number of data points.
Our qPCR module nests into a larger visionary automation ecosystem that challenges our previous ways of working towards new paradigms that enable seamless assay development and miniaturization and tailored screening approaches by moving away from complex and static automation and implementing a modular environment that provides flexibility, parallel execution and reduction of redundancy.