High Throughput Screening

GrowDex is naturally sourced animal free matrix for 3D cell culture applications.

GrowDex® hydrogels are meant for high-throughput and high-content 3D cell culture screening assays – automated dispensing with high-precision and high-speed in room temperature.



Tune the microenvironment to suit your cells. The optimal stiffness is achieved by dilution with cell culture medium, and the culturing matrix can be customized easily by simply adding components such as growth factors or proteins directly to the gel.

Microscope and high throughput compatible

GrowDex hydrogels do not have auto-fluorescence so imaging with any microscope or high content imaging system is simple.The ambient handling of the hydrogels makes them ideal for high throughput assays.

One-step cell recovery

Cells and organoids can be recovered from GrowDex with a gentle one-step enzymatic process with our GrowDase without affecting the cells.


When the right hits matter - choose GrowDex for better predictability

Looking for better biological predictivity? Discover the hits that matter with the right 3D cell culture assay

  • GrowDex enables spheroid formation, proliferation and differentiation in a three-dimensional matrix environment that better resembles the natural environment for cells to grow.
  • GrowDex hydrogels have been used with numerous different assays culturing cells (e.g. stem, liver, cancer, neural) from many different sources such as cell lines, primary cells, patient derived cells and biopsies.

Screen reproducible without worrying about temperature control

  • No more temperature-controlled rooms, clogging pipette tips or unexpected polymerization of the matrix during your cell culture workflow. GrowDex® is a temperature stable matrix that does not change its properties (stiffness or chemical composition) during dispensing or cell culture.
  • HTS/HCS compatible GrowDex makes it easy and reproducible to run large screens using automated dispensing and image analysis systems. Please see our references below for more information about the applications.

Compound screening, end-point analysis and downstream processing without interference or false positives

  • As GrowDex contains only nanocellulose and water, it allows the free diffusion of small and large molecules through the matrix, making it possible to run large screens without interference from the matrix.
  • For downstream processing, just add GrowDase™ cellulase enzyme and collect your spheroids without affecting their structure, morphology or proteins.
  • End-point analysis is robust and accurate with GrowDex as it is not auto-fluorescent. Avoid challenging optimization steps and focus on analyzing your cells.

Why transfer from 2D to 3D in High-throughput screening?


Major part of the cell-based high-throughput screening (HTS) assays are done still with traditional two-dimensional (2D) cultures that poorly represent the complex three-dimensional (3D) physiological environment, where cells naturally grow. The highly artificial HTS monolayer (2D) cultures are thought to significantly impact on the predictive value of compound screens and lead to high failure rate in drug discovery.

Advanced 3D cell-based assays for high-throughput screening provide a more physiologically relevant solution. Some of the current 3D models possess major obstacles in scaling up for HTS, as they are not reproducible, the costs are high, and there are several technical problems that cause challenges, including: automatization of liquid handling, temperature control, optimizing imaging and detection methods, chemical and physical properties of the matrix and downstream processing.

Solve the common issues faced with animal derived materials

Automated dispensing without temperature control 

Animal derived materials used for 3D cell culture typically go through the polymerization of gels, which is caused by temperature. For scaling up assays in HTS this requires extensive temperature control and cooling down of instruments and reagents, so that the gels do not polymerize during dispensing. During screening, unexpected polymerization can clog pipette tips, cause variation in dispensing amount and lead to higher consumption of reagents, which increases the total cost of the assay. With GrowDex hydrogels you can do automated dispensing accurately and fast in room temperature. 

Imaging and detection methods

The detection of fluorescent signals, for cell viability and proliferation assays is of key importance. Animal derived culture matrices often interfere with measurement caused by autofluorescence coming from the animal proteins. GrowDex hydrogels are not autofluorescent and contain only ultrapure water and nanocellulose.   

Drug diffusion in compound screening 

The diffusion of small and large molecules is crucial for compound screening. As the animal-based materials contain ECM proteins, the matrix can interfere with the diffusion of molecules. Especially large molecules, such as antibodies and ECM binding molecules can cause challenges for studying the effects of the drug compound. In GrowDex hydrogels small and large molecules are able to diffuse through the material, as it mainly contains water and only a small amount of nanocellulose fibers. 

Downstream processing

To detect and recover RNA and DNA for downstream processing the animal-based hydrogels interfere with antibody labeling, purification and detection. Using our GrowDase cellulase enzyme, you can recover your precious cells from GrowDex hydrogels, without affecting the cells. GrowDase cellulase enzyme degrades only cellulose fibers and it does not affect the cell proteins, structure or viability.  


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See how it works - scale up with confidence



Automatic dispensing of GrowDex with Thermo Scientific Multidrop

Automated dispensing of GrowDex to 96- and 384-well plates with ThermoFisher Multidrop.



Automatic dispensing of GrowDex with Eppendorf EpMotion



Automatic dispensing of GrowDex hydrogel into 384-well plate



Non-Contact Dispensing of GrowDex Hydrogel

Demonstration of GrowDex® printing by non-contact dispensing
Protocol details: GrowDex® 0.25% (UPM, Finland)