A cell image showing the branching structure of neurites, captured using three fluorescence channels.
Faster drug discovery
CSIRO helped Axon instruments develop image analysis software for their ImageXpress™ cellular screening system.
2 March 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
CSIRO's biotech imaging experts have developed innovative technologies for automated analysis of cell images captured during drug screening.
This enables drug companies to measure the visual effects of different drug compounds on different cells, helping them to discover safer drugs more quickly.
The technology has been incorporated into the ImageXpress™ cellular screening system developed by Axon Instruments, now part of Molecular Devices Corporation.
"We looked to CSIRO’s Biotech Imaging group for their world class algorithm development capabilities."
Chief Technology Officer, Molecular Devices Corporation
What CSIRO did
CSIRO helped Axon develop image analysis software for the instrument, creating several modules to analyse different assays or cell types. The software draws on CSIRO’s established expertise in advanced image segmentation methods.
The module designed for neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, automates identification and measurement of nerve cells during drug screening. It quantifies the effects drug candidates have on the intricate branching structures of the cells.
It should allow pharmaceutical companies to reduce expensive drug development costs and speed time to market of drugs with the potential to greatly increase quality of life for people with nervous system disorders.
'When developing our ImageXpress cellular screening system, we knew our customers in the pharmaceutical industry would demand the best quality microscope images and the best image analysis software to rapidly and automatically analyse them.'
'We had the capabilities in-house for the microscope design but we looked to CSIRO's Biotech Imaging group for their world class algorithm development capabilities,' said Dr Alan Finkel, Chief Technology Officer, Molecular Devices Corporation.
About the researchers
The researchers involved in this work form part of the Biotech Imaging team at CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences. This team applies expertise in image analysis to solve diverse imaging problems in biotechnology.
Learn more about CSIRO's work in Gene technology.