High-throughput chemical analysis has become increasingly important in biomedical and chemical research. Current strategies for identifying drugs and chemical probes involve screening millions of compounds against biological targets using high-throughput assays. Combinatorial synthesis to develop chemical libraries requires high-throughput analysis of reaction products. As more leads are developed, downstream steps in drug development, such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) testing, become a high-throughput challenge. Throughput has become important in clinical diagnostics as identification of biomarkers of diseases is creating demand for more screens and verification.
To meet the demands posed by these challenges, we are developing high-throughput chemical analysis based on mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography, and electrophoresis. Our goal to develop high-performance methods that can analyze complex samples at rates of 1 to 10 Hz (28,800 to 288,000 samples per 8 h day). We also attempt to reduce cost by reducing reagent volumes to nanoliter scale and avoiding use of labels. Examples studies are to screen for inhibitors of enzyme reactions, protein-protein reactions, and catalytic reaction conditions. Below are examples of devices used for high-throughput analysis.