INDIGO Biosciences Blog

Three Questions to Consider Before Designing Your Own Cell-Based Reporter Assay

July 24, 2020

The discovery process is time consuming and expensive, and it is becoming increasingly more important that if you do fail that you fail fast before moving onto clinical trials. When planning your research, there are different options to test compounds for nuclear receptor activation or hepatotoxicity. The project might include performing cell-based reporter assays and if it does, you may consider designing your own assay rather than working with a company who specializes in this work. Before adding the process of designing an assay to a new project, consider these three important questions.


Do I have the time?

The old adage, “time is money” is all too true especially when managing laboratory time and tasks.  When planning potential research, the bench work associated with creating cell-based assays includes countless hours developing, optimizing, and validating the assay to ensure consistent data. A project team will need to transfect and propagate the reporter cells in the lab and test the cell viability, as well as adjust the assay design, all taking time. When there are deadlines, multiple projects, or competition for time on the bench, it is important to consider, do my team and I have the time to design an assay?


Do I want to source all the resources?

In developing an assay, many components need to be purchased from reagents for transfection of plasmid DNA into mammalian cells, to the materials for propagating those cells in culture. Some of the materials needed can be purchased in the exact quantities needed, but many cannot and are only available in large supply. If developing an assay requires supplies that aren’t typically used or there is already a demand for storage in the lab, it is important to consider if the supplies needed can sit around until the next project that needs them.


Do I have the expertise?

Is there someone on the team that has the experience and knowledge to anticipate and understand the assay factors that may arise, such as decreased cell viability which could deteriorate assay performance, or cause inconsistent and irreproducible results? Some of the things that will affect the usefulness of the cell-based assay include cell density variations, CO2 variabilities, microplate plate edge-effects, temperature, timing, pipetting errors, and instrumentation and detection parameters. It is important to consider the strengths and weakness in a team’s knowledge, as well as experience when deciding to include assay design into a project.


All Inclusive Reporter Cell-Based Assays Kits

If no was the answer to any of these questions and working with a company that specializes in exclusively performing screening services is outside of the project budget, all-inclusive cell-based assay kits are available. All-inclusive kits are designed and optimized so that everything works together, ensuring consistent data without the need to do adjustments ultimately reducing the time, cost, and risk associated with drug discovery. INDIGO Biosciences has the world’s largest portfolio all-inclusive cell-based assay kits for discovery research. If this is an option for you, find out more about how INDIGO’s assays work.

The drug discovery process is time-consuming, costly, and risky. Ultimately, the decision to do it yourself and design an assay in-house, purchase an all-inclusive reporter cell kit, or outsource the project as a screening service is up to each lab and project team, based on the time, resources, and expertise available.


Looking for an all-inclusive assay kit, but can’t find the right one? Request information from the team at INDIGO Biosciences to learn more about INDIGO's suite of assays and research solutions.


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