This paper reviews the several different factors that must be considered during the development of assays for high throughput screening (HTS) or in vitro diagnostic (IVD) applications. The reader is introduced to the terminology used in assay development as well as the statistical approaches for evaluating the data. The review is intended to serve as a tutorial to biotechnology, pharmaceutical and clinical professionals, the academic researcher, as well as a guide for established investigators of HTS and IVD. This review is not a comprehensive treatise in its scope or content, but is meant to introduce the reader to key concepts of assay development. Elementary mathematical and statistical tools for designing robust assays and data management are described. While certain design concepts overlap HTS and IVDs, others are more pertinent to one or the other topic. An overview of the regulatory requirements for IVDs is included in the context of the United States Food and Drug Administration. Quality concepts and high content screening are also briefly described. The review does not focus upon any particular assay technology nor does it provide detailed laboratory procedures on specific assays. The references cited are not exhaustive, but meant to steer the reader toward a general status report of the various technologies discussed. The information presented in this review is not intended to replace the judgment of the experienced laboratory scientist. However, this review should assist the scientific professional in executing well designed assays and being aware of design considerations.
Keywords: Assay development, statistical tools, high throughput screening (HTS), in vitro diagnostics (IVD), quality control (QC), disease prevalence, six sigma, receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC), shelf-life/stability
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