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February 26, 2018

Freedom to roam during protein purification runs

By Prashanth Rao, Global product manager UNICORN software

Have you ever felt tied to your ÄKTA system and itching to get out of the lab? Consider this scenario: you have started a run in the lab and want to get some work done in your office. You may want to plan for the next run, analyze previous runs, prepare a presentation or work on your next publication or report. But while you focus on other activities, you still need to monitor the progress of the run in the lab. Would you benefit from the freedom to use UNICORN software remotely?


If so, I recommend listening to our webinar-on-demand, Work from anywhere with UNICORN and add flexibility to protein purification workflows, about the remote capabilities of UNICORN software when working with ÄKTA systems. The live webinar was held on September 6, followed by a Q&A session where my colleagues Olivier Friker, Lena Nyholm and Lotta Hedkvist and I answered questions from the audience. Here are the questions and answers from the Q&A session.

UNICORN remote capabilities

UNICORN Remote allows you to work from the comfort of your office or any computer outside of the one connected to the system. The remote capabilities in UNICORN allow you to monitor runs outside of the lab, receive alarms and warnings, check on settings, view results and work on method editing and evaluation, without blocking the dedicated UNICORN workstation connected to the ÄKTA system.

A2: Yes, this is possible.

A4: No, ÄKTA start, our simplest ÄKTA system, is an easy-to-use protein purification system that automates manual protein purification procedures in academic and educational labs. It does not have remote capabilities.

A5: Remote operation is not yet available for UNICORN. However, we do realize the benefits of operating remotely and this something that GE Healthcare is considering.

A6: UNICORN software natively runs on Microsoft Windows, and Mac is not supported. However, we have seen a workaround used by few of our users to access UNICORN from Mac computers by using a remote desktop application and connecting to the windows computer running UNICORN. This does not provide all the benefits of using the UNICORN Remote client. The remote (Mac) computer will take complete control of the UNICORN workstation, blocking all other users from utilizing the software. We do not support or recommend this workaround.

A7: UNICORN 7 has replaced UNICORN 5.x; however, not all systems are covered. ÄKTAexplorer and ÄKTApurifier can run on UNCORN 7, but unfortunately not ÄKTAprime.

A9: Please connect with your regional service team to get more information and access to the data viewer tool.

Network requirements

The UNICORN Remote capabilities are realized by leveraging network installation and floating licenses. There were several questions related to the network needed for the installation.

A11: The UNICORN client must be able to access the UNICORN database, regardless of the infrastructure of the network. Both wired and wireless connection should work fine if the UNICORN client has access to the UNICORN database and the network connectivity is stable.

A13: When connection is lost to the central data base, UNICORN will store data locally until reconnection. The control computer hosting the UNICORN client will continue the run.

A14: There are many ways to minimize data weight, with different pros and cons depending on the context. Refer to the Administration and Technical manual for data sampling and database archiving.

UNICORN licenses

A typical representation of the UNICORN network setup includes a common database, where the data from all the UNICORN workstations are stored, and a license server that is common to the network installation. The common license server holds the floating licenses that are used by all the remote clients. In addition, there are also node-locked licenses for the dedicated UNICORN workstation connected to each ÄKTA system.

A16: Yes. Please connect with your sales team to order UNICORN Remote.

A17: The UNICORN client can be installed on any computer. GE Healthcare offers floating remote licenses for sharing between multiple users.

Get to know more about the different UNICORN licenses in UNICORN 7 software data file.

Learn more about UNICORN remote capabilities and learn how to implement in our webinar-on-demand; Work from anywhere with UNICORN and add flexibility to protein purification workflows.