Tetra Data upgrade for SoftMax Pro: More modalities, modes, and metadata

November 17, 2023
Evan Anderson

Molecular Devices SoftMax Pro software is used across the biopharma industry to control and analyze data from the SpectraMax line of microplate readers and other instruments. In October, we released an updated version of our SoftMax Pro Tetra Data, enabling our customers to consume data from more modalities. The new version also dives deeper into the raw data to extract and structure additional metadata about the assay runs, including statistics for groups of wells. The upshot is broader support for scientific use cases, including drug product potency testing and analytical process development for biologics.

Scientific use cases for SoftMax Pro

Conversations with biopharma customers using SoftMax Pro software revealed common pain points and desired outcomes. Here are the scientific use cases that inspired our most recent updates:

  • Drug product QC: Customers manually transferred and analyzed SpectraMax data for assay QC. They sought to accelerate the process from data generation to analysis using automation.
  • Biologics process development and optimization: Customers aimed to optimize their workflow for ingesting, analyzing, and reporting critical metrics such as host cell protein, titer, and enzyme activity.
  • High-throughput screening (HTS): Customers wanted to streamline their screening workflows by automatically assembling plate reader, liquid handler, and plate registration data and moving it to an ELN for IC50 calculations. (Read more about our solutions for HTS.)

So what’s new in Tetra Data?

Let’s walk through our updates.

Microplate reader modality support

The SpectraMax line of plate readers varies in capabilities, including reading type (e.g., absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence) and mode (e.g., endpoint, kinetic, and spectrum). 

Previous versions of this schema/pipeline focused on absorbance endpoint readings to support common HTS workflows. Despite its utility in HTS, this modality is not sufficient for common assays such as enzyme kinetics, cell viability, or FRET-based interaction assays. Based on the use cases listed above, we focused our update on the following modality combinations:

Read Type / Read Mode Endpoint Kinetic Spectrum

The kinetic and spectrum read modes yield two-dimensional data, whereas the endpoint read mode captures one data point per well. Kinetic reads collect data over time, and spectrum reads collect data across the UV-Vis spectrum.

example outputs from microplate read modes
Example outputs from different microplate read modes. Spectrum and kinetic modes produce higher-dimensional data than the endpoint mode.

Richer metadata and statistical output capture

For this release, we prioritized modeling the unstructured “group” and “notes” data sections exported by Softmax Pro. The “group” section captures critical metadata and derived calculations on groups of wells, such as those corresponding to control samples. The “note” section captures both free-text notes added by the user, as well as structured formulaic calculations. Our latest release transforms these unstructured fields into a searchable component of Tetra Data (see below). Group summaries and notes are now similarly captured.

Excerpt of unstructured group text from SoftMax Pro export, and the corresponding section in the updated Tetra Data. This enables thorough structuring and querying of any group metadata or calculations.

Unlock the potential of your SoftMax Pro data today

Existing customers can learn more about these updates by visiting the Softmax Pro v3 README on your platform. It thoroughly describes our parsing strategies and provides examples of accessing the data via SQL. Also, feel free to reach out to your customer success manager with any questions.

Not a customer but curious to learn more? Please connect with us. We’d be excited to hear from you.