On the cutting edge

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

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At the 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo in San Diego, held July 31 to Aug. 3, Cambridge, U.K.-based TTP Plc showcased advances with the development of its Puck dx point-of-care diagnostic platform. Since the launch of the platform at AACC in 2016, TTP notes, technical developments have made it possible for Puck dx to run quantitative PCR amplification times of  seven minutes for 30 cycles, which “will enable point-of-care diagnostic providers to rapidly convert their biological assay into a market-ready system capable of producing a result in less than quarter of an hour, for specific assays.”
At its core, the Puck dx platform uses a novel fluid handling system designed to “enable ready translation from bench to disposable,” and the platform reportedly has the flexibility to effectively and efficiently extract DNA and RNA from a range of samples. TTP says that Puck dx provides an accessible and rapid route to market, offering a seamless approach for companies looking to accelerate the development of their assay to a product for use in diagnostics or research.
“Over recent years, we‘ve seen an increased need for a flexible sample to answer platform, capable of translating processes and instrumentation from the central lab to the researcher’s or clinic’s desktop,” said Piers Harding, inventor of the Puck dx technology at TTP. “The platform meets that need by providing a complete programmable sample-to-answer solution.”
Tosoh announces partnership with PolyAnalytik
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.—Tosoh Bioscience in early August announced a newly formed partnership with PolyAnalytik Inc., based in London, Ontario, that broadens their reach and expertise in the field of GPC for polymer characterization. This new partner, Tosoh says, will serve as an authorized distributor and technical resource supporting the EcoSEC GPC Systems and TSKgel HPLC columns product lines throughout Canada and states in the Eastern and Midwestern regions of the United States.
Founded in 2007, PolyAnalytik Inc. provides innovative polymer analysis with the use of advanced GPC/SEC technology along with novel analytical strategies to a wide range of applications containing synthetic polymers, biopolymers, proteins and natural polymers for all industries. Their services range from GPC/SEC analysis, R&D, method development and validation, technical support, instrument sales and installation, training and method transfers.
“Our partnership with PolyAnalytik Inc. allows us to better serve our customers in North America,” says Ilir Koliqi, Tosoh senior sales manager for laboratory products. “In addition to providing access to our instruments capable of performing polymer characterization, PolyAnalytik Inc can provide support to those customers requiring outside expertise for sample analysis and/ or method development.”
HTG launches HTG EdgeSeq PATH Assay
TUCSON, Ariz.—Late June saw HTG Molecular Diagnostics, a provider of instruments, reagents and services for molecular profiling applications, announce that it had launched its new HTG EdgeSeq PATH Assay for sale in the United States and Europe. The HTG EdgeSeq PATH Assay has been designed for retrospective gene expression profiling (GEP) to complement traditional immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing by allowing investigators to assess mRNA expression of large numbers of biomarkers when formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) sample availability is limited. The assay is designed to detect up to 470 mRNA targets, typically assessed by IHC.
“We believe the trend toward smaller and less-invasive biopsy methods, from which more and more information is needed, drives the market for our new HTG EdgeSeq PATH Assay,” stated TJ Johnson, president and CEO of HTG. “We expect this product to enable simple and cost-effective retrospective studies, which, ultimately, could lead to new GEP-based diagnostic, prognostic and predictive classifiers in solid tumors and clinical IHC-replacement products and an estimated $1.5-billion market opportunity.”
“We designed this assay to enable our customers to profile small tissue biopsies in a more comprehensive manner than conventional IHC permits, and we expect this additional GEP information to advance research that, in the end, will improve patient care,” added Dr. Patrick Roche, HTG’s senior vice president of research and development.
China approval for triple quad LC/MS system
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—SCIEX announced this summer that its AB Sciex Triple Quad 4500MD LC-MS/MS system had been approved by the China Food and Drug Administration for use as a medical device. As such, the system—which is not just the company’s liquid chromatography (LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) instrumentation, but also its Analyst MD, Cliquid MD and MultiQuant MD software—can be used in China for in-vitro diagnostic testing.
“We know that the routine diagnostic testing lab requires accurate trace level quantitation of multiple compounds in human specimens,” said Shao Hong, Sciex’s general manager for China, who added that the instrument should help clinical labs “by saving time, cutting costs and supporting physicians with greater confidence and reliable results.”
Advancing degenerative brain disease research
LUND, Sweden—Qlucore’s technology factored heavily into recent work by Rodin Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotechnology company developing best-in-class therapeutics for neurological disorders by harnessing the power of targeting genes that improve impaired synaptic function. Rodin’s approach is to improve neuronal synaptic resilience via the selective inhibition of histone de-acetylase (HDAC) complexes. Evidence supports that the modulation of selective gene regulatory processes can restore synaptic plasticity and cognitive function deficits present in degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Omics Explorer bioinformatics software from Qlucore was selected as “the best blend of power and ease of use” that Rodin scientists could use for analysis of their omics data.
“With Qlucore, I instantly see how my data responds to changes in statistical parameters and cutoffs, and have a choice of the best methods for high-dimensional data. I can use both supervised and unsupervised methods as 3D PCA, heatmaps and clustering. Hypotheses testing is significantly helped by this constant feedback, as I can set up analysis, view results and modify settings with a few clicks,” said Dr. Berkley Lynch, senior director of central nervous system research at Rodin.

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