On the cutting edge

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

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LONDON—Heading up this month’s tour through recent news of life-sciences tools of the trade, we have news from Puridify Ltd., developers of novel bioprocessing purification technologies for industrial biomolecule manufacture, that they have signed an 18-month collaboration deal with GlaxoSmithKline to extend the evaluation of Puridify’s FibroSelect purification technology with a view to building a package to support potential use of nanofibers in toxicology and clinical manufacture.
This signing follows a previous 18-month collaboration which reportedly has seen successful demonstration of proof-of-concept studies at the 50-liter scale, with potential calculated economic benefits based on the technology’s use.
Venture-backed Puridify says it has been on a rapid path of development and commercialization to deliver an industry-ready technology that will allow a step-change to current downstream processing of industrial biotherapeutic manufacture. The unique high capacity combined with high flowrate properties of FibroSelect are said to enable the replacement of columns that are more than 50 times larger. The ready-to-operate units reduce validation burden, improve process robustness and increase facility flexibility.
Using a “multicycle, single-batch” mode of operation, FibroSelect units have demonstrated an ability to match process CQAs when cycled over 190 times with three-minute run times. This purification throughput also offers rapid process development opportunities.
“The development of FibroSelect has focused on generating industry-relevant end-user data. At the same time, we have been establishing a manufacturing basis for GMP-compliant products that are delivered pre-packed and ready to operate,” commented Dr. Oliver Hardick, CEO of Puridify. “Our single-use purification units will enable this technology to service very effectively the wider life-sciences industry. Specifically, collaborations with biotherapeutic drug manufacturers are already proving the benefit of FibroSelect as a single-use, high-productivity product capture platform, suitable for existing and emergent biologic therapies.”

OriGene enters strategic agreement with EdiGene
ROCKVILLE, Md.—OriGene Technologies, a key supplier of gene-centric research tools, announced in November that it had entered into a multiyear strategic agreement with EdiGene of Beijing, China, to develop genome-wide knockout cells from commonly used laboratory cell lines. This joint adventure combines EdiGene’s technical expertise in genome-editing technology and OriGene’s extensive market reach to serve the research community.
Performance and specificity are critical for antibodies to be used effectively in research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications, yet reagents to validate antibody specificity are currently lacking. The Knockout Cell Lysates from OriGene are specifically designed to drastically improve the process by which antibody performance is verified and target specificity is confirmed by scientists.
“The introduction of novel tools such as the ready-made Knockout Cell Lysates has the potential and power to completely revolutionize western blotting and improve the current state of product quality for the wider antibody industry,” said Dr. Wei-Wu He, CEO of OriGene Technologies. “OriGene’s continued pursuit of best-in-class technologies for improved antibody validation and specificity determination further underscores our long-term commitment to becoming a leading producer of antibody products. Through our unique relationship with leading companies like EdiGene, we now have the ability to transform biological research through the delivery of Knockout Cell Lysates and use of leading technologies such as CRISPR.”
Added Dr. Wensheng Wei, chief scientific officer and founder of EdiGene: “The adaptation of KO validation in the antibody reagent industry and the scientific research community will redefine antibody quality and improve the accuracy and reproducibility of experimental results using antibodies.”

Big Pharma implements SciQuest’s inventory management solution
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—SciQuest, a leading provider of spend management solutions, announced recently that a leading global pharmaceutical company has implemented SciQuest’s Enterprise Reagent Manager (ERM) to enhance inventory management, shopping and compliance within their research and development facilities.
Used by eight of the 10 top global pharmaceutical companies, ERM allows scientific staff to find, source and track mission-critical materials from a single application. This particular top pharma client is the first of those eight, however, to move from on-premise to the new hosted Enterprise Reagent Manager. ERM replaces four legacy chemical inventory management solutions at their four different sites in the United States and Europe, providing their end-users with one fully integrated solution that allows them to search multiple sources simultaneously (SciQuest’s Spend Director Hosted Catalog, eMolecules plus their lab and storeroom inventory) and submit their external catalog requests to their eProcurement solution for processing, something they have never been able to do with their legacy systems.
“Every global pharmaceutical company’s research teams are facing increasing pressure to deliver critical major medical breakthroughs with tightening budgets,” said Robert Bonavito, CEO of SciQuest. “Enterprise Reagent Manager streamlines research inventory processes so that teams can focus on their research and get faster access to and higher utilization of the materials or chemicals already in inventory.”

Dohmen sets sights on transformative software in new Red Arrow HQ
MILWAUKEE—Showcasing the critical role technology plays in creating a more efficient, effective and easy-to-use health experience, The Dohmen Company recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Red Arrow Labs headquarters in Wisconsin.
Red Arrow, acquired by Dohmen in 2014, creates “transformative software solutions” for life-sciences and health companies nationwide, and more than 80 software developers and technology solution experts moved into the new 12,000-square-foot building.
“The U.S. spends double every other country on healthcare and consistently ranks lower in outcomes, so it’s essential we begin to more aggressively apply technology to disrupt that paradigm,” said Cynthia LaConte, Dohmen’s CEO. “Our Red Arrow team understands the critical importance of that mandate, and they’ve dedicated their time and talents to identifying and implementing B2B software that drives efficiency by putting the patient in the center of the healthcare product commercialization process.”

Agilent launches new panel for fast FISH testing
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—This fall saw Agilent Technologies Inc. announce the European Union launch of a new CE-IVD-labeled IQFISH lung cancer panel for automated analysis on Dako Omnis. The new panel enables routine pathology laboratories to easily integrate fast, high-quality fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) into their immunohistochemistry (IHC) workflow. This allows labs to simultaneously stain IHC and FISH slides and enable multiple FISH slides to be processed in just four hours, a process that often takes two days or more with traditional FISH.
The new panel, comprising of ALK, ROS1, RET and MET IQFISH probes, was designed using the oligonucleotide-based SureFISH technology utilizing formamide-free IQFISH fast hybridization buffer.
“We are excited about the upcoming probe launches for Dako Omnis,” said Jacob Thaysen, president of Agilent’s Diagnostics and Genomics Group. “Agilent is committed to improving the speed and accuracy of patient-sample processing and the quality of test performance. We know that these factors greatly affect treatment decisions and patient outcome.”
The lung cancer panel is the second IQFISH launch for Dako Omnis following its introduction of HER2 IQFISH pharmDx in 2015.

Ginolis and FocalSpec enter reseller agreement
OULUNSALO & OULU, Finland—Ginolis Ltd., a global desktop automation solutions provider, recently announced a value-added reseller agreement with FocalSpec Ltd., a supplier of optical 3D surface measurement systems. The partnership facilitates the integration of FocalSpec’s world-leading optical measurement technology with Ginolis’ automation platforms. The agreement authorizes Ginolis to sell and support the integrated systems to the medtech, medical device and diagnostics industries.
“The combination of FocalSpec’s optical measurement systems and our automation platforms are a perfect match,” said Ginolis CEO Teijo Fabritius. “The regulated medical device industry demands precision and high quality. This partnership enables us to provide a broader range of products that will address those needs.”

Crown launches new interactive feature for XenoBase
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—In the fall, Crown Bioscience, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crown Bioscience International, published a further enriched version of its XenoBase. A newly added module complements the existing database’s powerful search options of publicly profiled data (gene expression, copy number and mutation) as well as proprietary histopathology, in-vivo pharmacology, tumor growth and molecular pathology data for over 200 validated cell line-derived xenograft models and for more than 1,000 tumor cell lines.
Thanks to the new XenoBase feature, users reportedly will now be able to directly search and interact with dose response curves and IC50 data for over 290 cell lines, providing the ability to rapidly review and select the most appropriate model for their in-vitro studies.
“We’ve come a long way since the release of our first version of XenoBase,” said Dr. Qian Shi, vice president of cancer pharmacology and in-vitro cancer biology at CrownBio. “Getting instant access to in-vitro pharmacology data linked to in-vivo data from the corresponding cell line-derived xenograft in one comprehensive and easy-to-browse platform means clients will be able to plan their studies with an end-to-end solution in mind.”
Registered XenoBase users can already take advantage of the new feature, while new clients can simply send a request to register to start using the service from the company website.

Fluidigm introduces high-parameter panels for immuno-oncology research
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—November saw Fluidigm Corp. introduce a modular set of high-parameter Maxpar mass cytometry panels for immuno-oncology research. Designed for use with Helios and CyTOF systems, the Immuno-Oncology Maxpar Panels enable researchers to simultaneously profile T cell subpopulations across 34 highly informative markers to comprehensively identify all major T cell subsets, measure checkpoint molecule expression, identify activation states and determine homing status.
Provided as a modular panel system, these panels can be easily combined for complete coverage. Individual panel sets can also be further customized with additional markers for specific research needs. With access to over 600 commercially available pre-conjugated antibodies and custom conjugation options from Fluidigm, this panel system is very well suited to meet the evolving needs of the cancer immunotherapy research community.
“The dynamic nature and inherent complexity of the antitumor immune response requires new approaches to deeply profile cell populations at single-cell resolution,” said Chris Linthwaite, president and CEO of Fluidigm. “This new set of multi-parameter panels will empower more researchers with high-dimensional tools to interrogate the tumor immune response and the tumor microenvironment, maximizing the information obtained from each precious sample.”

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