On the cutting edge

A roundup of instrumentation, software and other tools and technology news

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BOSTON—We start our monthly roundup of tools and technology news with word from Kerafast Inc., developer of an online platform to facilitate accessibility to unique bioresearch materials from laboratories across the globe, that it has increased the number of international institutional laboratories adding reagents and services to its catalog. Kerafast now offers reagents and services from 142 partnering academic research institutions, of which 14 percent are located outside the United States.
Recent international institutions to have joined the program include Israel’s Ramot, which is Tel Aviv University’s business engagement center; Canada’s University of Calgary and Dalhousie University; Germany’s University of Göttingen Medical Center; Norway’s University of Oslo; and Australia’s Flinders University.
“Kerafast promotes access to rare and unique research reagents and helps to facilitate a community of both providing and procuring laboratories that work toward the cure of disease,” said Dr. Jennifer Rossi, chief operating officer of Kerafast. “We are pleased to add more international academic institutions to broaden our portfolio and help to disseminate research materials.”
The company says these new international partnerships add a variety of unique products to Kerafast’s catalog, including complement antibodies, reversible streptavidin protein, carboxypeptidase antibody, zebrafish circadian clock model services and cancer angiogenesis services. Since its founding in late 2011, Kerafast’s catalog has grown to more than 2,600 products and, as Kerafast puts it, “Through the company’s efforts, many rare and unique research materials previously hidden in laboratory freezers have been made available to scientists worldwide via a straightforward research-use-only ‘click license’.”
Kerafast says it plans to continue its European and Asia-Pacific expansion over the coming year.
In other tools and technology news:
Bracket introduces next-gen eCOA platform at DIA
WAYNE, Pa.—Bracket, a leading clinical trial technology and specialty services provider, launched its next-generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA 6.0, at the 52nd Annual DIA Meeting held in June in Philadelphia. The company describes Bracket eCOA 6.0 as “a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that is driving digitization in clinical trials.” The platform integrates with industry-leading Samsung Galaxy smartphones and Microsoft’s Surface Pro Windows tablets to support ePro, eClinRO and eObsRO, and it features fully integrated clinician and patient-facing tools, to help ensure the experience is fully harmonized for any user.
“Bracket eCOA combines science and technology to collect patient information through smartphones or tablets, and ultimately achieve higher-quality outcomes and efficiency in clinical trials,” said Jeff Kinell, CEO of Bracket. “We are pleased to launch eCOA 6.0 and continue demonstrating our commitment to paper-free clinical trials as we prepare for the mobile revolution.”

Dolomite lends a helping hand to synthetic biology research
ROYSTON, U.K.—Dolomite microfluidic chips are helping researchers from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) in the United States to develop novel enzymes capable of polymerizing synthetic nucleotides. Using these chips, the team has created a droplet-based optical polymerase sorting (DrOPS) technique allowing rapid screening for novel polymerase activities in uniform water-in-oil microcompartments.
“The creation of synthetic nucleic acids is of great interest to synthetic biologists but, because they are not found in nature, wild type polymerases struggle to process them,” explained the team’s leader, Prof. John C. Chaput, formerly at ASU and currently at the University of California, Irvine. “To overcome this issue, we are developing novel polymerases using directed evolution in water-in-oil microcompartments. The DrOPS methodology has significant advantages over traditional methods, which are both labor-intensive and impractical to perform on a large scale due to the amount of precious artificial nucleotide reagents required for screening.”
The Biodesign Institute turned to microfluidics to allow rapid sorting and screening of novel polymerases, taking advantage of the technique’s single-cell encapsulation capabilities and picoliter reaction volumes—as the institute has noted, it needed “very reproducible microfluidics, and so using commercially available chips was preferable” and they already had experience with Dolomite’s chips for a variety of applications within the institute.

Sylogent launches structured data and information management platform for pharma
NEWTOWN, Pa.—Sylogent, a software and data services company, has announced the formal launch of SYQUENCE for the pharmaceutical industry. The web-based system is designed to organize, standardize and automate the data necessary to produce critical information.
SYQUENCE is a flexible middleware tool that allows for structured data-driven processes to be implemented with minimal business interruptions. Integrated structured templates automatically create structured documents that maximize data consistency within a department and across the organization.
“With more regulations, fewer resources, smaller budgets and shorter compliance timelines, the industry must begin to automate their information processes,” stated Jack Yeager, CEO of Sylogent. “They cannot continue to manually process this heavily regulated information that ultimately must be consistent across the organization and public domain.”
SYQUENCE has been deployed at several pharmaceutical companies to assist with study registration, clinical data disclosure and publication planning. The single study master form automatically creates all of the required registration and data disclosure documents populated with shared data elements. The system also creates a publication study document that includes study data needed by publication teams.
“Too much critical data is being managed in spreadsheets, word documents and within emails on laptops and desktops. Pharma must operate in real time if they expect to satisfy growing compliance regulations,” said Yeager.

2B Scientific joins list of Vivantis distributors in Europe
SELANGOR, Malaysia—Vivantis, which describes itself as a “fast-growing Asian-based developer and manufacturer of restriction enzymes, DNA extraction kits, DNA amplification reagents and other related products for molecular biology research,” has added another European distributor for its products. Specifically, 2B Scientific, which is based in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom, has joined the growing list of distributors who have “discovered the benefits of offering the Vivantis range. 2B Scientific is reinventing the supply of immunological reagents and kits to the European market.”
Vivantis’ platform technologies screen, extract and purify valuable enzymes and compounds from bacteria for further development into useful end products, and the company also has experience in recombinant enzyme production and novel chemistry for the creation of value-added consumables. According to the company: “We are very pleased to be associated with 2B Scientific and continue to look for more distributors of this type across Europe.”

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