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ACCESS – Chemical screening facility

Chemical screening
Copyright: Shem Johnson

ACCESS, which stands for “Academic Chemical Screens in Switzerland”, was established in the framework of the NCCR Chemical Biology. It enables the scientific community in Switzerland to run from complex phenotypic screens to more classical in vitro biochemical target-based screening assays. ACCESS provides as well a large diverse collection of chemical compounds. Furthermore, it has competencies in chemo-informatics to analyse results and assist with hit expansion.

During the preparation of the NCCR Chemical Biology in 2010, the creation of ACCESS was envisaged. Its implementation within the already well running Biomolecular Screening Facility (BSF) of EPFL was the most logical solution, but urged to further developing the BSF. The chain-of-custody, quality control, sophisticated storage and handling systems, as well as the size of chemical collections and the screening capacity of the infrastructure had to be increased in order to perform more chemical screening projects.

The first core of ACCESS, integrated within BSF in 2010 and dubbed BSF ACCESS, is a platform providing chemical diversity screening facilities and know-how in chemical genetics. Recently, an antenna of ACCESS has been established at the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Geneva. ACCESS  Geneva complements and diversifies the services offered to the researchers in Switzerland. Since then, ACCESS has developed a highly diverse chemical library that comprises over 100’000 compounds from various commercial sources including several specific libraries. This assembly of chemical compounds provides good coverage of the chemical 3D-structural space for drug–like molecules, and contains admitted drugs as well as natural compounds. In complement, ACCESS develops the Swiss Chemical Collection (SCC), which comprises unique chemical compounds obtained from various Swiss chemistry laboratories, giving the community access to compounds that cannot be found elsewhere.

The users of ACCESS share a web portal under a data sharing agreement to allow complex data analysis and further annotation of compounds. The NCCR Chemical Biology promotes the use of this powerful discovery platform. Regular calls for screening proposals related to chemical biology are launched to the entire Swiss community to be subventioned by the NCCR.

Finally, a major mission of ACCESS is to educate the users in both the trade of screening as well as in the methods of performing rigorous data analysis, and lead/hit validation and optimisation. In this respect, novel software is developed and implemented, and courses or workshops are regularly organized at both EPFL and UNIGE to train users on these applications.

Discover screening facilities in Lausanne and Geneva

Chemical screening BSF ACCESS Based at the EPFL, the platform enables researchers to run screens from classical in vitro biochemical target-based assays to complex phenotypic screens, using a large and diverse collection of chemical compounds.
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Chemical screening ACCESS Geneva The platform provides local support to researchers to conduct image-based high-content experiments and high-throughput screening, to store the data on the local server and analyze the image data via vpn on a virtual machine from anywhere.
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