The Woodlands, TX — May 8, 2008. Rigaku Americas Corporation is pleased to announce the sale of the 50th Rigaku ACTOR robotic protein crystal handling system to the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. The system was chosen by the MRC as an upgrade for their in-house X-ray diffraction facilities and in support of crystallographic studies carried out in the laboratory, which seek to understand the structure, function and interactions of biologically important molecules at the atomic, molecular and supra-molecular level. A significant milestone for Rigaku, sale of the 50th ACTOR will be marked by a special commemorative plaque affixed to the exterior of the instrument. Dr. Andrew Leslie, Group Leader for structural studies of macromolecular complexes within the Division of Structural Studies, commented, “I’m personally delighted that we are getting the 50th system, congratulations to all concerned!”
As the world’s first commercial robotic system for automated crystal sample mounting and storage, ACTOR eliminates much of the physical handling of samples by crystallographers required during routine screening and data collection either in the lab or at the beamline. It is an automated system designed to store frozen protein crystals, mount them sequentially, align them to the X-ray beam, collect complete data sets, and return the crystals to storage.
The ACTOR automated crystal mounting and data collection technology was co-developed by Rigaku with Oceaneering Space Systems (OSS), a division of Oceaneering International, Inc., under a license from Abbott® Laboratories for the purpose of offering a commercial high-throughput crystallography automation system. Astex™ Therapeutics Ltd. (Cambridge, UK) purchased the first ACTOR system in 20011. In 2002, the Rigaku ACTOR was honored with an R&D 100 Award for technical innovation. In 2005, Rigaku introduced a version of robot for small molecule chemical crystallography called the ACTOR SM.
The UK Medical Research Council is a publicly funded organisation dedicated to improving human health through world-class medical research. To achieve this, it supports research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas. The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology is recognised internationally for the excellence of its research, and has major programmes in structural biology aimed at understanding biological processes at the molecular level.
Rigaku—Leading With Innovation
Since its inception in Japan in 1951, Rigaku has been at the forefront of analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. Rigaku and its subsidiaries form a global group focused on life sciences and general purpose analytical instrumentation. With hundreds of major innovations to its credit, Rigaku and its subsidiary companies are world leaders in the fields of small molecule and protein crystallography, X-ray spectrometry and diffraction, X-ray optics, as well as semiconductor metrology. Rigaku employs over 1,100 people in the manufacture and support of its analytical equipment. Its products are in use in more than 70 countries—supporting research, development, and quality assurance activities. Throughout the world, Rigaku continuously promotes partnerships, dialog, and innovation within the global scientific and industrial community.