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J Lab Autom. 2011 Aug;16(4):276-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jala.2010.10.002. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

A highly automated assay for determining the aqueous equilibrium solubility of drug discovery compounds.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, AstraZeneca R&D Charnwood, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK.


Aqueous solubility is an important physicochemical parameter for any potential drug candidate, and high-throughput kinetic assays are frequently used in drug discovery to give an estimate of a compound's aqueous solubility. However, the aqueous solubility data from an equilibrium (thermodynamic) shake-flask technique is considered more relevant, but is slower and more labor intensive to generate. A highly automated aqueous equilibrium solubility shake-flask technique is described and validated on a set of 15 marketed drugs, whose aqueous solubilities cover four orders of magnitude. The assay uses a Tecan Freedom Evo 200 liquid handling robot (Tecan Group Ltd., Männerdorf, Switzerland) with integrated appliances for the transportation, decapping and recapping, and centrifugation of sample tubes. These bespoke automation solutions help overcome the labor intensive steps associated with performing conventional, gold standard, aqueous equilibrium solubility shake-flask measurements, enabling the assay to be used as a primary-wave drug discovery screen.

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