How Does Formulatrix® Provide Lab Automation?

How Does Formulatrix® Provide Lab Automation?

Lab Automation Solutions with Formulatrix®

Robots in research laboratories are becoming more and more common. Why is that?

Automated and AI-driven technologies help bioscience platforms finish work in hours, work that would typically take days! Formulatrix® is a driving force behind this new robotic technology.

Formulatrix® is committed to providing the life science community with cutting-edge robotic automation equipment and software. In fact, it offers the fastest, smartest, and most efficient imagers and liquid handlers for streamlining the protein crystallography process.

The company was founded by Jeremy Stevenson in 2002. He started the company with the ROCK MAKER protein crystallization software, which was followed by the development of automated imaging systems, drop setters, digital PCR, and reagent dispensers.

In this article, we will learn about high-throughput, automated technologies developed by Formulatrix®, Inc. and how it is helping scientists improve people’s lives.

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Proteomic and Genomic Applications

Finding easy-to-use solutions for your lab is a meticulous task. Formulatrix® collaborates with expert scientists to design and build automated solutions and software that simplify the process of sample preparation and analysis of proteins and nucleic acids. The products available to help in proteomics and genomics applications include:

  • Protein Crystallization: Formulatrix® produces equipment for the entire workflow of protein crystallization experimentation. They provide a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)—The ROCK MAKER—integrated with a drop setter, screen builder, liquid handler, crystallization imagers, nanocrystal detector, and LCP condition prescreening.

The protein crystallization software is designed to fit the budget and workflow of any lab, regardless of its size.

Formulatrix’s MANTIS® and TEMPEST® dispensers are the best COVID-19 automated solutions for all the above-mentioned problems. It can precisely dispense sub microlitre volume of solution, reduce the uses of pipettes, ensure the safety of scientists working in the lab, and quickly screen a high number of samples with high reproducibility (by only using a quarter of the Master Mix of reagents).

  • NGS Sample Preparation: Formulatrix’s MANTIS® can dispense 100nL (smallest volume) of the sample and reduce the cDNA synthesis reaction for limited starting material. It helps throughout the next-generation sequencing workflow, which includes nucleic acid extraction, cDNA synthesis, NGS library preparation, and quality control.
  • Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP): Formulatrix® has an automated FRAP imaging system that screens the Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP) condition before setting up the crystallization experiment. It lets you focus on LCP growth in ideal conditions and store all your data in one place.
  • Assay Development and Optimization: Using a MANTIS® liquid handler and a TEMPEST® liquid handler creates a seamless transition from assay development and optimization to drug discovery. This is due to the fact that both instruments use the same positive displacement technology. Furthermore, the products allow you to dispense even a small volume of 6 µL with low shear force, ensuring the viability of cells.
  • Cell-based Assays: Manual processing of experiments makes it difficult to produce consistent results when working with a large number of samples and multiple experiments. The MANTIS® and TEMPEST®  liquid handlers facilitate gentle and even distribution of primary cells, cell lines, and DMSO into 96-, 384-, and 1536-well SLAS format microtiter plates. This increases the viability of cells and ensures the consistent density of those cells across all plates, providing reliable and consistent results.
  • qPCR Preparation: Formulatrix’s MANTIS® help scientists in efficient quantification of nucleic acids (DNA/RNA). It provides other benefits including a decrease in dead volume to below 10 µL and a reduction in the use of consumables and reagents.
  • High-throughput Screening: A good Z score is important while working on drug discovery. Integrating the TEMPEST® liquid handler in your high-throughput screening system increases the Z scores for the identification of trustworthy hits. Plus, the low shear force while dispensing enhances cell viability.
  • AlphaLISA®/Immunoassays: Formulatrix’s microfluidic technologies, MANTIS® and TEMPEST® liquid handlers, are ideal for dispensing AlphaLISA beads and reagents. The automated workflow enhances the assay performance and reduces the total cost.

Formulatrix® Products

Formulatrix® is a leading company in providing automated solutions for protein crystallography. It has designed products that are easy to use, reliable, and fast. It provides efficient results even when working with a huge number of samples. Here’s a list of products designed by Formulatrix® to streamline scientific experiments.

Protein Crystallization

  • ROCK MAKER®: This is a protein crystallization software that allows protein screening against the sparse screen. It’s integrated with Machine Recognition of Crystallization Outcomes (MARCO) that automatically scores drop images. ROCK MAKER® also allows you to compare images (or view them in multiple modes) and assign scores.
  • NT8®: It’s a nanoliter liquid drop handler that dispenses drops without compromising protein integrity and experiment reproducibility. You can set up hanging drop, sitting drop, micro-batch, and meso LCP drop, with NT8, for a 96-well plate using only 8 tips.
  • FORMULATOR®: It’s a next-generation liquid handler that uses Formulatrix’s patented microfluidic technology to dispense up to 34 ingredients, required to create your crystallization screen. It has a 92-nozzled dispensing chip that helps to dispense any volume of any ingredient of any viscosity into the well.
  • ROCK IMAGER®: The ROCK IMAGER® are a series of automated imaging systems that allow you to screen and capture an entire 96-well plate in just three minutes. The imager works for any imaging method, available in different models to fit your budget, and has temperature control options from 30°C down to 4°C. You can get high optical resolution of the protein drops by increasing the numerical aperture of the objective, without compromising on the depth of the field.
  • SONICC®: This device helps in detecting a variety of protein crystals, including extremely thin crystals, microcrystals (<1 μm), and crystals obscured in birefringent LCP. This also includes crystals buried in precipitate or submicron crystals, ones that are invisible to the naked eye. The integrated UV-TPEF (Ultraviolet Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence) mode allows you to distinguish between protein crystals and salt.
  • FRAP: This device utilizes a high-throughput LCP-FRAP assay to prescreen membrane protein crystallization conditions. FRAP accelerates the crystallization methods and rules out suboptimal conditions for the better crystal growth. Further, you can get a complete analysis of 96-well plates and data in one place.
  • MUVIS®: The Manual UV Inspection Station (MUVIS) is a stand-alone visible and UV microscope that gives a quick scan of protein crystals in your plate. It helps you distinguish if the crystal in your plate is protein or salt. It’s budget-friendly and available in a compact size so you can easily move it anywhere in the lab.

Liquid Handling

  • MANTIS®: This is a liquid handler device that can dispense volumes down to 100nL at CV < 3%. If working with expensive reagents, the device helps you to miniaturize the reaction with maintained reproducibility and reduced reagent or pipette tip use. They can be part of a diverse set of scientific workflows including NGS sample preparation, cell-based assays, real-time and digital PCR workflows, and ELISA.
  • TEMPEST®: The device allows scientists to dispense a maximum of 12 different reagents by utilizing 96 independently controlled outputs. It can deliver as low as 200 nL volume of liquid with precision, irrespective of sample type and viscosities.
  • F.A.S.T.™: Flow Axial Seal Tip (F.A.S.T.) is a quick liquid transfer system that comes with a unique 96-tip head for rapid sample transfer. It has removable, interchangeable trays for setting up your reagents, plates, and tips before use. And, the integrated software makes user onboarding and set-up easy, so no prior knowledge is required.
  • FLO i8™: It’s a liquid handler best suited to optimize your daily protocols. It has variable spanning channels and a pipetting range from 0.5-200.0 uL, allowing for faster and easier benchwork. It can be used for assay development, ELISA, PCR workflows, NGS library preparation, and nucleic acid extraction workflows.
  • ROVER™: Not yet available, but coming soon, the ROVER™ is a laboratory automation platform that utilizes machine vision and mobile microplate modules called “ROVERS” that carry microplates around the lab from instrument to instrument. To efficiently generate more data, tasks can be parallelized using these mobile modules.


  • µPULSE-TFF System: It’s an automated system that uses tangential flow filtration (TFF) for sample concentration and diafiltration (buffer exchange, desalting). The device can handle between 2-100 ml volume of samples and allow their full visibility during the whole process. It comes with disposable filter chips that make it easy to keep the system clean and prevent any cross-contamination.

Visit www.formulatrix.com to learn more about Formulatrix’s products and services.

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Automate Your Lab with Excedr

Formulatrix® provides automated solutions for life science laboratories in order to help scientists speed up their research without compromising the quality of results. Currently, it offers protein crystallography automated devices (including imagers), next-generation liquid handlers, and digital PCR. These devices have applications in nucleic acid extraction, sample preparation, and ELISA.

Buying high-throughput technologies offered by companies like Formulatrix, however, comes with enormous upfront costs and operational fees. If these costs are more than your company can afford to pay in one go, consider leasing with Excedr.

You can redirect the money you save paying affordable monthly installments towards your invaluable research.

Browse all of our life sciences and biotech instruments, analytical instruments, and other general lab equipment available to lease.

Contact us today to learn more about a customized solution that fits your lab’s needs!