Reaction screening

The problem

Reaction screening is the process of making APIs and reagents better by lowering reagent costs, improving yield, reducing or eliminating impurities, running under milder conditions, and reducing waste. Setting up tons of reactions manually for small molecule screening is costly, time-consuming, and error-prone. A lack of uniformity in the experimental setup means the same fate for your data.

The right tool for the job

Big Kahuna and Junior are automation platforms that can be configured to prepare reactions, process those reaction conditions, and integrate analytical results. The platforms bring together several key components needed to set up and do reaction screening at small scale. They transfer solutions and reactants consistently, run reactions for an exact and specific amount of time, and handle samples the same way across runs. All this control means you can trust your data and draw the right conclusions from it.

What’s possible

Powder dispense

Solids can be dispensed from two formats. Large hoppers are best for one-to-many dispenses where the same powder goes into many destination wells. Hoppers are available in 10, 25, 50, and 100 mL volumes, and multiple hoppers of any combination can be set up on the deck. If your typical run requires you to dispense many different powders — for example a catalyst screen — switch to the Storage Vial (SV) hoppers. They work with standard 4 mL glass vials that are outfitted with a disposable dispense head. You can fit dozens of vials on deck, and hundreds off deck. These small hoppers allow for greater flexibility in reagent or reaction screening.

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Heated liquid dispense

Transferring organic solvents can be challenging due to formatting changes (large vials into smaller vials or plates), the need to transfer quickly to prevent evaporation, and when reagents are present, the need to keep the solution heated to avoid precipitation and clogging. Big Kahuna and Junior have numerous options for transferring solutions, the most useful being the heated, spreadable six tip. The temperature of the tip can go to 120 °C, and the pitch of the needles can vary from 9 – 20 mm, ensuring you get solutions in and out of a 96-well plate as well as larger format vials. There is also an extendable tip if you just need one solution at a time, and the head can be put into 4-tip mode if that’s a better format for you.

6 Tip Together Close

Turn it on, mix it up

When you’re ready to run the reaction, the rest of the Big Kahuna or Junior deck is ready to go. You can heat, cool, and stir 96-well plates or less dense formats. Multiple plates can be set up simultaneously and each set to different temperatures. If magnetic stirring isn’t your cup of tea, vortex the plate instead. Either way, mix your reactions, turn up the heat (or chill it down) to run the reactions just the way you want.



Junior automates all your back-and-forth, over and over again, hands-on work. Explore more reaction and formulation conditions, prep samples, or hand off any other tasks you think would be better performed if you’re not the one doing it.

Big Kahuna

Big Kahuna gives you automated, high-throughput, end-to-end solutions for biologics, gene therapy vectors, small molecules, polymers and catalysts. It’s completely configurable and helps you save money and time while getting more work done.


Want more info?

Every lab has different bottlenecks and challenges. We’re all about partnering with you to build the bespoke solution that lets you do science faster and better. Have questions or can’t wait to speak with our expert team to find out what might be possible?