Synbiosis Release: Danish Biotech Reduces Vaccine Testing Time from Two Days to One Hour Using a ProtoCOL System to Assess Vaccine Potency

Published: Nov 11, 2008

Frederick, MD: Synbiosis, a world-leading manufacturer of automated microbiological systems, is delighted to announce that ACE BioSciences, a Danish biotech developing innovative vaccines, is using a ProtoCOL automated colony counter to significantly speed up potency testing of its novel pneumococcal vaccines.

The ProtoCOL system at ACE BioSciences, is being used in pre-clinical trials to rapidly count the numbers of surviving Streptococcus pneumoniae colonies plated on modified Todd-Hewitt agar plates, post OPKA (in vitro opsonophagocytic-killing assay). This is saving researchers at ACE hours of repetitive counting, as well as improving the accuracy of results by eliminating errors, which can occur when having to enumerate large numbers of colonies and manually key in results.

Dr Tim Schmitter, an Immunologist at ACE BioSciences stated: “We have to count around 70-120 colonies per sample and we have 288 samples in each run to assess all the serotypes of each pneumococcal vaccine we want to test. Counting 20-30,000 colonies was taking myself and another scientist six hours using a heavy semi-automated counting pen and then we also had to type the results into Excel.”

Dr Schmitter added: “Since we installed the ProtoCOL last year, in just one hour, one scientist can complete two days of counts. This is not easy because colonies are sometimes the size of a pinhead and are close together, yet the ProtoCOL does this with ease to provide highly reproducible data. The best thing is the results are automatically transferred into Excel, which allows us to perform statistical analysis straight away. We are so pleased with the performance of the ProtoCOL we are soon going to extend its use to evaluate another vaccine against a different organism.” Martin Smith of Synbiosis concluded: “The colony counting capabilities of the ProtoCOL are unrivalled and we are pleased it is helping ACE BioSciences to accelerate their vaccine testing. As this is an affordable and easy to use system, we are convinced any biotech or pharma company wanting to rapidly and cost-effectively develop pneumococcal vaccines will gain these benefits when using a ProtoCOL.”

About Synbiosis

Synbiosis is a world-leading supplier of integrated imaging solutions for automatic counting and analysis of microbial colonies and zone measurement. The ProtoCOL and åCOLyte systems from Synbiosis are installed in food, pharmaceutical, environmental and research microbiology laboratories world-wide. Synbiosis uses established distribution channels to market its products internationally.

Synbiosis, founded in 1998 is a division of the Synoptics Group based in Cambridge UK. The Group’s other divisions, Syncroscopy and Syngene, specialize in digital imaging solutions for microscopy and molecular biology applications respectively. Synoptics currently employs 40 people in its UK and US subsidiary operation.

About ACE BioSciences

ACE BioSciences was founded in 2001 from Odense University’s Centre of Excellence in protein analysis. The technology platform is to extract and analyze the cell surface proteins used by bacteria and virus to infect human cells and thereby cause diseases.

Today, ACE BioSciences is a product-based company with a focus on novel vaccines to fight serious bacterial infections. The company’s vaccines are developed in-house through preclinical and clinical tests. The aim is to develop a portfolio of vaccines against travelers’ diarrhea and other serious infectious diseases. The company’s lead products are ACE393, the world’s first commercial travelers’ diarrhea vaccine to address Campylobacter, and ACE527, the first orally administered vaccine against ETEC. In the long term, the company aims to develop a combination vaccine to address Campylobacter and ETEC. In addition, ACE BioSciences recognizes the need to improve existing vaccines and are currently working to develop a new vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae. ACE BioSciences currently employs 20 staff members. For more information, visit

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