Research Update: Compounds Australia

In 2018, ACRF granted $2 million to Griffith University to establish the ACRF Centre for Compound Management and Logistics at Compounds Australia – Australia’s only dedicated compound management facility. Below is an update on the important work that has been done since that time.

“Our greatest challenge today is COVID-19 and the impact on the global economy. Our greatest success is the ability to adapt and deal with the problems that arise along the way. Compounds Australia is housed at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), a biomedical research institute dedicated to developing innovative new solutions for devastating conditions including cancers, infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, drug resistance), neurological disorders (e.g. Parkinsons disease) and spinal cord injury repair. 

Compounds Australia’s new equipment platform

GRIDD’s Compounds Australia is Australia’s only integrated compound management facility. This highly specialised facility maintains and manages a library of compounds and natural products and makes these available at low cost to academic and not-for-profit researchers. Demand for these services continues to increase every year, however, the current equipment is approaching end of life. In response, management has embarked upon an exciting project to purchase and install leading-edge and cost-effective equipment. This installation will be the first time in the world that this technology has been implemented in an academic environment

The installation includes much greater storage coupled with robotic systems and software that together will significantly increase capacity and allow for continued expansion in workload and customers while keeping manual involvement manageable.

Steering Group Established

With the project undergoing significant growth, we are pleased to announce the Steering Group has been established, chaired by Professor Katherine Andrews. The role of the Steering Group is to provide advice, ensure delivery of the project outputs and ensure the achievement of project outcomes. Wilma James, Compounds Australia Strategic Business Manager, and Moana Simpson, Compounds Australia Facility Manager, provide the technical, operational and project input to support the Steering Group through the project phases.

Brooks Equipment Installation

The Brooks equipment, in all its disassembled parts, arrived on Thursday 5th March in a 40ft shipping container!  The Brooks “Build” team of three were inducted and ready to work from the 9th March, ahead of schedule.  The SampleStoreII was built from the ground up within the main Compounds Australia laboratory, with an integrated Plate Selector and acoustic technology (AcoustiX) tube picker, the central robot arm will be able to manoeuvre the combined 4,000 microplate and 400,000 AcoustiX tube capacity of the store.  Additionally, Compounds Australia has an integrated handoff to enable full integration to the new HighRes Biosolutions robot platform and a manual input/output module for offline processing.  The build was completed in a record nine days and testament to the hard – working team from Brooks.

The next phase of the process will have the store commissioned, with Facility Manager, Moana Simpson, and Assistant Manager, Rebecca Lang, putting it through its paces during site acceptance testing, following by the remaining staff receiving training. This will be the first worldwide installation and commissioning of the AcoustiX microtube in an Academic environment and the team at Compounds Australia is working with the Brooks team to have this online following COVID-19 disruptions.”

This article originally appeared in the Compounds Australia Newsletter.