Assay Guidance Workshop for High-Throughput Screening and Lead Discovery

Saturday, February 4, 2017 — 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (local time)


This workshop is available to SLAS2017 registrants only and requires an additional registration fee of $399.00. Click here to register now.


This full-day workshop will cover a broad range of critical concepts underlying assay development for high throughput screening (HTS) and lead discovery projects. Many of the methodologies successfully implemented in such projects have been "tribal knowledge" within the pharmaceutical industry and not readily found in a classroom or the literature. This "tribal knowledge" has been developed for decades into detailed chapters within the AGM to facilitate reproducible assays that can identify the most promising compounds for development of molecular probes or clinical candidates for drug discovery and development. An increasing number of researchers are actively developing well validated assays for drug discovery that include phenotypic and biochemical assays for lead optimization. This workshop is designed to disseminate critical information about the implementation of robust assay methods and intended to benefit the entire drug discovery community. Many of the workshop instructors have 20-30 years of experience in the field of drug discovery.

Who Should Attend?

The target audience is individuals involved in bioassay development for drug discovery and development. The AGM and this workshop will be a valuable resource for academic, industrial and government laboratory scientists who are planning or beginning to develop test methods for high or low throughput screening that are amenable to automation using appropriate statistical and operational concepts. The workshop will also be useful for early career researchers and experienced investigators who wish to learn about the latest assay concepts for HTS and lead optimization


The workshop will provide participants with a broad, practical perspective on assay development so that they can (1) improve research projects involving drug discovery, and know where to find further information (2) identify reagents, methods and instrumentation that are well suited to robust assays (3) be able to develop robust assays and counter assays for new targets. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to seek practical advice about individual research challenges.

Workshop Objectives

  1. Overview of the Assay Guidance Manual eBook as an important resource for detailed information about robust assay methods and best practices in quantitative biology.
  2. Practical approaches for developing robust assays for biochemical, cell-based, and high content screening as well as the selection and development of optimal assay reagents.
  3. Overview on sources of assay artifacts and strategies to identify artifacts through the development and implementation of counter assays.
  4. Discussion of important statistical and data analysis concepts with an emphasis on using these concepts to collect the best possible data and make go/no go decisions based on experimental results.
  5. Open discussions to share experiences and seek practical advice about individual research concerns.

Workshop Agenda

8:30-8:50 am: Robust or Go Bust: An Introduction to the Assay Guidance Manual
G. Sitta Sittampalam, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
9:00-9:45 am: Strategies for Assay Selection and for the Development of Robust Biochemical Assays
Nathan P. Coussens, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
9:55-10:40 am: Treating Cells as Reagents to Design Reproducible Screening Assays
Terry Riss, Ph.D., Promega Corporation
10:50-11:35 am: Assay Interpretation: Studies in Mechanisms and Methods in Assay Interferences
Douglas Auld, Ph.D., Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
11:45-12:30 pm: Biophysical Approaches to Small Molecule Discovery and Validation
Michelle Arkin, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
12:40-1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30-2:15 pm: Basic Assay Statistics, Data Analysis and Rules of Thumb
Thomas D.Y. Chung, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
2:25-3:10 pm: Reproducibility and Differentiability of Compound Potency Results from Screening Assays in Drug Discovery
V. Devanarayan, Ph.D., AbbVie, Inc.
3:20-4:05 pm: In Vitro Toxicological Testing in a qHTS Platform
Menghang Xia, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
4:15-5:00 pm: In Vitro Assessments of ADME Properties of Lead Compounds
Xin Xu, Ph.D., NCATS/NIH
5:10-5:30 pm: Open Discussion Session