On the cutting edge

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

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LONDON & SHEFFIELD, U.K.—Late last year, IN-PART, a technology company that brings together universities and businesses across the globe, announced that following successful beta testing, it is launching a new, bespoke scouting service for R&D professionals, called IN-PART: Discover. The new service, the company says, will “revolutionize open innovation by providing companies with novel opportunities for collaboration, specific to their requirements and often unseen elsewhere.”
Discover was successfully beta-tested with four multinational companies from the healthcare, consumer goods, electronics and chemical sector. IN-PART is now in discussion with companies spanning from large pharmaceutical companies to aeronautical engineering firms wishing to use the service.
In recent years, the company notes, interest has increased regarding open innovation, particularly as universities are becoming more aware of—and open to—the benefits of collaborating with industry. However, many businesses have a limited number of university contacts to target when looking for new research and struggle to make new connections beyond this network.
IN-PART maintains that while there are existing technologies that find new leads for corporate R&D teams, many of them are neither time- nor cost-effective, as the company says “they rely on ‘scraping’ often outdated websites and databases, resulting in irrelevant and unavailable opportunities. By contrast, the IN-PART matchmaking platform features a unique, intuitive algorithm to smart-match companies with the best and most relevant commercially ready research from 96 university clients—including some of the most prestigious research institutions worldwide.”
IN-PART: Discover builds on this offering by providing a personalized scouting service, involving not only direct engagement with teams from IN-PART’s established university client network, but also universities around the world.
Currently, IN-PART: Discover reaches teams from 272 institutions globally with corporate requirements, and this is expected to increase to over 400 universities by early this year.
“Discover was born out of feedback from our industry audience,” said Robin Knight, co-founder and director of IN-PART. “Companies are looking for a proactive and resource-efficient way to seek out university collaboration opportunities fitting their own bespoke requirements, before anyone else.”

Personalized immuno-vaccines for cancer
RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Cancer Genetics Inc. (CGI), a biotech company working to enable precision medicine for oncology through molecular markers and diagnostics, announced late last year the launch of its neoantigen discovery service offering, AntigenID, based on neoantigen identification technology using unique and comprehensive sequencing combinations and sophisticated bioinformatics algorithms and computational workflows. The accurate identification of neoantigens, cancer markers that are unique to an individual’s tumor, has become an emerging area of immuno-oncology (IO) believed to be critical in the development of personalized cancer immunotherapy and predicting potential response to existing immune-oncology therapies, the company notes.
“We are pleased to be able to broaden our precision medicine offerings to support personalized and targeted immune therapies,” said Panna Sharma, President and CEO of CGI. “The identification of a patient’s unique repertoire of cancer antigens holds great potential for the success of IO therapies, and we have focused our efforts on building a comprehensive immuno-oncology testing portfolio and service offerings for use in clinical trials, translational research and therapy selection. We believe adding a neoantigen discovery service was the logical next step in helping personalized therapies become a reality for cancer patients, and we look forward to future collaborations that will apply the discoveries made possible with neoantigen identification platform, AntigenID.”
Recent studies show that the manipulation of neoantigens used alone or in combination with other immunotherapies could prove to be an important therapeutic tool to reduce and control cancer. There are currently over 50 clinical trials and studies involving neoantigen identification as a core component, with many distinctly geared towards developing personalized neoantigen-based cancer vaccines. According to industry analysts, these therapies and combinations will help drive a future predicted global cancer immunotherapy market of close to $200 billion by 2021, from $61.97 billion in 2016.

Analyzing retinal angiogenic diseases
COLOGNE, Germany—AYOXXA Biosystems GmbH, a biotech focused on the development and commercialization of innovative multiplex protein analysis technologies enabling translational research in basic and clinical research, in December announced the launch of LUNARIS Human 11-Plex Ophthalmology Kit for the quantitative analysis of biomarker signatures from human vitreous and aqueous samples. The assay is optimized for usage on LUNARIS, AYOXXA’s innovative multiplex protein analysis system.
“LUNARIS Human 11-Plex Ophthalmology Kit is a reliable and precise assay for the analysis of proteins from minute amounts of ocular fluids. This will support the development of diagnostic kits that may provide biomarker detection in a variety of the most common RADs in order to pave the way for the development of innovative and novel therapies and to support clinicians in tailored treatment decisions,” said Rodney Turner, CEO of AYOXXA. “With the launch of the new LUNARIS Human Cytokine 11-Plex Ophthalmology Kit, we thus follow our primary mission to provide tools that enable translational research.”

Better selection of bioinformatics and AI software
SANTA MONICA, Calif.—Late last year, the G6G Consulting Group LLC announced the new version of the G6GFINDR system. The system reportedly allows a focused search for finding bioinformatics and artificial intelligence (AI) software. The system, according to G6G, strives to answer the question “What software do I use?” for the high-growth fields of bioinformatics and artificial intelligence. The platform is also being generalized to other industries and will employ artificial intelligence and natural language processing.
Powered by semantic annotation, the G6GFINDR system is a two-step process. In the first step, a query is entered, generating several semantic annotations. After the user chooses relevant annotations to their query, the search is re-submitted, generating a list of prioritized URLs for finding software of interest. Both specific annotations for each URL (Detail Page) and also the number of annotations for each URL (Summary Page) are listed in the results.

Improved data sharing
BAR HARBOR, Maine—The Jackson Laboratory (JAX)-designed software for biomedical research is part of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Data Commons Pilot Phase, a multi-institutional and international effort to make research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (sometimes referred to by the acronym FAIR).
JAX is piloting software specifically focusing on cardiomyopathy, a common disease of the heart muscle. This new online Disease Navigator will enable scientists who study cardiovascular disease to fast-track their research by accessing relevant genomic and other data from animal models (mouse and rat) cross-referenced to human data.
Because of the genetic and biological similarities among humans, mice and rats, researchers use data from these model organisms to elucidate the mechanisms of human disease, with the ultimate goal of finding new treatments and preventive strategies.
“The Disease Navigator is an important step in understanding the functional significance of human genome variation data,” said Dr. Carol Bult, a JAX professor, “because it will make it easier for researchers to find the relevant connections between human genetics and genomics data and the expertly curated knowledge available for animal models in the Mouse Genome Informatics and Rat Genome Databases.”
The Disease Navigator will be developed in conjunction with a consortium of model organism databases called the Alliance of Genome Resources.

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