Customer Spotlight

Options for Neonatal Testing

Astoria Pacific


Astoria-Pacific International (API) designs, manufactures, and markets diagnostic instrumentation and kits to screen newborns for a variety of treatable diseases. Small samples in the form of dried blood spots are used with API’s kits and their SPOTCHECK® flow analyzer to test for Biotinidase, GALT (Uridyltransferase), Total Galactose, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, and G6PD. Alana Lerch is the Newborn Screening Product Manager at Astoria-Pacific, and also acts as a customer advocate to ensure that her customers receive outstanding service and the highest overall value from Astoria-Pacific products.

In the current SPOTCHECK continuous flow analyzer, pump tubes carry reagents necessary for newborn screening assays. These tubes need to be changed manually every 2 weeks. Additionally, users are required to go through a full week of training prior to use of the machine. Although the SPOTCHECK system has been proven reliable and precise for multiplexed newborn screening tests, a set of reconfigured assay protocols were developed with various pipetting technologies to appeal to a wider and global audience that demanded ease of use. Alana notes, “We wanted to offer our Biotinidase, Total Galactose, and GALT assays with 4 unique hardware options so that labs of any size could choose an automation level appropriate for their sample volume.”


Along with the pipetting technologies, Astoria-Pacific researched various microplate readers to be able to provide a higher level of automation and throughput to meet their customer’s requirements. The selection team - including R&D, Sales and Technical Support - sought an instrument that was a turnkey system for end-users. API also required a state of the art software package and a company who would be dedicated to a high level of service and support. Several manufacturers were considered, including BioTek Instruments, Tecan and Molecular Devices. “Our overall experience with BioTek was outstanding and the price was very good for our price-sensitive neonatal customers,” says Alana. “Also, BioTek’s software was outstanding and very user friendly. It had all of the data reporting capabilities that we were looking for.” BioTek’s ELx808™ Absorbance Microplate Reader was purchased as the reader of choice for the SPOTCHECK Flex and SPOTCHECK Assist systems. These new systems will be available as an option for laboratories looking for an alternative to the SPOTCHECK continuous flow system, and are currently available to run the Biotinidase assay.

In configuring the ELx808 for the SPOTCHECK systems, BioTek’s team provided strong support at every step. Several API team members travelled to BioTek’s headquarters in Vermont for detailed training and review of the manufacturing facility. Software protocols were created specific for Astoria-Pacific’s assays that are preloaded onto the instrument prior to shipment. Both companies share the common goal of ensuring that Astoria-Pacific and their customers would Get a Better Reaction from their BioTek experience.

To learn more about Astoria-Pacific and their SPOTCHECK system, visit their web site.


Thanks to Alana Lerch at Astoria-Pacific for relating her BioTek experience with us.

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