IonWorks Barracuda Plus Automated Patch Clamp System

For ion channel drug discovery from target validation to compound profiling

The IonWorks Barracuda® Plus System enables scientists to perform complex pharmacological analysis such as use-dependent blockade of ion channels, while exploiting the time and cost savings of automation. Now, a single platform provides an affordable, high-throughput solution for voltage- and ligand-gated ion channel research for drug discovery screening and safety assessment.


  • Highest available throughput of 1100 to 6000 data points per hour
  • Low-cost IonWorks PatchPlate™ consumable to keep running costs down
  • Population Patch Clamp™ (PPC) recording for robust and reproducible recordings
  • Long assay windows, up to 30 minutes with stable ionic currents
  • Supports kinetic studies of use-dependent compounds

Replace slow, expensive methods



Relative cost comparison of consumables on the IonWorks Barracuda  system versus commercially available giga-seal systems.
Screen 25,000 compounds in 4 days on the IonWorks Barracuda system compared to approximately 106 days on commercially available giga-seal systems.

Replace manual methods

  • Easy to use - eliminates the need for labor intensive conventional patch clamp
  • Precise voltage control and high temporal resolution produces results similar to manual patch clamp methods
  • Long assay windows, up to 30 minutes, support the study of use-dependant blockers

Get the speed and benefits of automation at an affordable price


  • Peer reviewed studies show that IonWorks Barracuda recordings give comparable results to GigaSeal for most channels
  • Highest throughput available
    • True 384 parallel acquisition of an entire 384-well planar PatchPlateTMConsumable in as little as 20 minutes
    • Record up to 6000 data points per hour
  • Unmatched flexiblity for assay support and development
    • Optimized for both LGIC and VGIC
    • Add up to 8 compound additions per well - generate cumulative response data ideal for safety profiling
  • Automation solutions for walk-away operation up to six hours

Designed for accuracy and ease of use

  • Individual runs are fully automated
  • Easy access to plates and consumables
  • Unique cell delivery system minimizes cell usage - < 5 mL/run
  • Ultrasonic tip washer with two solution inputs eliminates compound carryover
  • CellPettor delivery of cell suspension minimizes on board cell usage when operating with or without optional cell management


Instrument deck: Two boat positions, for extracellular buffer and cells, and two compound plates can be used for multiple additions. The wash station cleans both tips and the electrode plate and provides the user with the option for ultrasonic cleaning.

Proven, cost-effective PatchPlate™ consumables

  • Flow-through design enables rapid fluid exchange over the cell
  • Constant fluid level maitained for precise aspiration - use compound preparations up to 3x concentration
  • User-defined aspirate and dispense speed and height
  • Rapid individual offset correction for each of the 384 electrodes



At the forefront of developing ways to improve assay robustness and data quality Molecular Devices invented Population Patch Clamp™ (PPC) Technology, a patented, multiple hole-per-well technique that increases the experiment success rate and reduces well-to-well signal variability.

  • PPC substrate has 64 holes per well to enable seal formation and voltage clamp with up to 64 cells simultaneously



PPC experiment of the acid-sensing ion channel ASIC1a showing how PPC generates highly reproducible data with low variability in 384 well-format


Single-hole experiment of the acid-sensing ion channel, ASIC1a, shows variability of signal amplitude commonly seen using conventional, single cell patch-clamping technique.



Primary screening of directed libraries

  • Speed and cost efficiency that supports screening 100's of thousands of compounds using one compound concentration per well

Rapid lead identification

  • 384-well format is ideal for generating large numbers of concentration response curves
  • High success rates with IC50 values from 95% or more of wells

Flexibility to optimize leads and perform safety studies

  • Wide assay windows
  • Software facilitates assay development - alter experimental conditions during runs similar to manual rigs
  • Multiple compound additions ideal for optimizing potency and eliminating more toxic compounds
  • Supports with-in well assays that generate cumulative response data similar to manual patch clamp methods

Clonal selection

  • Single hole recording is an option for identifying and optimizing cell lines


Voltage-gated ion channels

Many voltage-gated ion channels (VGIC) including Na+, K+, Cl-, and Ca2+ channels have been measured on IonWorks® systems. The same VGIC targets measured on the IonWorks HT and Quattro Systems can be measured on the IonWorks Barracuda System.

  • Deliver complicated voltage protocols to drive ion channels to steady state and to discover state-dependent drug candidates
  • Capable of performing within-well assays that generate cumulative response data similar to manual patch clamp methods
  • Numerous VGIC targets have been validated including: Na+, K+, Cl-, and Ca2+

Ligand-gated ion channels

  • Simultaneous compound addition and data acquisition allows the measurement of rapidly activating and desensitizing ligand-gated channels
  • Numerous LGIC targets have been validated including: ASIC1a, GABA, and nACh

Screening mode for day-to-day operation

  • Starting runs is a simple one step process - load a protocol and walk away
  • Easy to use intuitive interface

Assay development mode for protocol optimization

  • Alter experimental conditions during a run - quickly optimize protocols
  • Applied protocols can be changed an unlimited number of times


Related Collateral


Data Sheet


       Ligand-gated Ion Channels

       Voltage-gated Ion Channels



Related Webinars

Related Publications

Related Presentations

Description Part Number
PatchPlate (Single hole)
Patch Plate (PPC)
Pipette tips (clear)
Pipette tips (black)
CellPettor pipette
Standard cell boat
External buffer boat

Number of Citations*: 47

Latest Citations:

For a complete list of citations, please click here.


Pharmacological and electrophysiological characterization of AZSMO‐23, an activator of the hERG K+ channel

R Mannikko, MH Bridgland‐Taylor… - British journal of …, 2015 - Wiley Online Library
... This constraint has been removed by the development of IonWorks Barracuda®. ... All the hERG
data from automated electrophysiology in these experiments, came from IonWorks HT, except
for the time course data in Figure 3, which were generated using IonWorks Barracuda...

Venoms-Based Drug Discovery: Bioassays, Electrophysiology, High-Throughput Screens and Target Identification

P McINTYRE - Venoms to Drugs: Venom as a Source for the …, 2015 -
... automated electrophysiology platforms, such as the OpusXpress (Axon Instruments) and
Robocyte/HiClamp (MultiChannel Systems GmbH) for oocyte recording, and PatchXpress (Axon
Instruments), Patchliner (Nanion Technologies GmbH), IonWorks Barracuda and Quattro ...

Ion channel profiling to advance drug discovery and development

B Zou - Drug Discovery Today: Technologies, 2015 - Elsevier
... PatchXpress 7000A, 16, Low, Yes, Yes, SH, Yes. IonFlux HT, 64, Medium, Yes, Yes, SH and
PPC (20-hole), No. IonWorks Barracuda, 384, High, Yes, Yes, SH and PPC (64-hole), No.
Qpatch HT/HTX, 48, Medium, Yes, Yes, SH and PPC (10-hole), Yes. ...

Natural and synthetic neuroactive steroid modulators of GABAA and NMDA receptors

G Martinez Botella, MA Ackley, FG Salituro… - Annu. Rep. Med. …, 2014 -
... for measuring functional activity of ligand-gated ion channels is using patch clamp
electrophysiology and it is only with the recent advent of automated high-throughput patch clamp
systems such as the QPatch systems (Sophion) and Ionworks Barracuda (Molecular Devices ...

State-of-the-art automated patch clamp: heat activation, action potentials, and high throughput in ion channel screening

S Stoelzle-Feix - Patch-Clamp Methods and Protocols, 2014 - Springer
... Available platforms are NPC ® -16 Patchliner ® and SyncroPatch ® 96 (Nanion Technologies
GmbH, Munich), CytoPatch™ (Cytocentrics AG, Rostock); PatchXpress ® 7000A, IonWorks ®
Quattro, and IonWorks Barracuda™, (Molecular Devices, LLC); Dynaflow ® HT ...

AUTOMATED PATCH CLAMPING finally achieves high throughout!

J Comley - Drug Discovery, 2014 -
... In late 2013 only one commercial system (Molecular Devices IonWorks Barracuda Plus) could
be regarded as offering true 384 parallel acquisition of an entire 384-well planar PatchPlate™.
The ... The IonWorks Barracuda Drug Discovery World Fall 2014 49 Electrophysiology ...

Mechanistic insights into the analgesic efficacy of A-1264087, a novel neuronal Ca 2+ channel blocker that reduces nociception in rat preclinical pain models

CZ Zhu, TA Vortherms, M Zhang, J Xu, AM Swensen… - The Journal of …, 2014 - Elsevier
... cells/mL. Whole-cell voltage clamp recordings were achieved using the perforated
patch technique (amphotericin B; 10–20 mg/100 mL) using the IonWorks Barracuda
(Molecular Devices LLC, Sunnyvale, CA). Predrug currents ...

Evaluating state dependence and subtype selectivity of calcium channel modulators in automated electrophysiology assays

YA Kuryshev, AM Brown, E Duzic… - Assay and drug …, 2014 -
... IonWorks™ Barracuda (IWB), the newest generation of IonWorks instruments, provides the
opportunity to accelerate the Ca v drug discovery studies in an automated patch clamp platform
in 384-well format capable of medium throughput screening and profiling studies. ...

Automated Electrophysiology in Ion Channel Drug Discovery

J DUNLOP - Ion Channel Drug Discovery, 2014 -
... on a single hole in each well of the recording chip to enable cell recording, its evolution to the
IonWorks Quattro, using 64 holes/well in the so called population patch clamp mode and enabling
higher success rates and throughput, to the IonWorks Barracuda enabling even ...

Prediction of thorough QT study results using action potential simulations based on ion channel screens

GR Mirams, MR Davies, SJ Brough… - … of pharmacological and …, 2014 - Elsevier
... presence of marketed drugs which have had a TQT study, for channels encoded by hERG,
CaV1.2, NaV1.5, KCNQ1/MinK, and Kv4.3/KChIP2.2. The screen was performed on two platforms
— IonWorks Quattro (all 5 channels, 34 compounds), and IonWorks Barracuda (hERG & ...



* as of November 13. Source: Google Scholar.  Search results include "IonWorks Barracuda" and "IonWorks Barracuda Molecular Devices".