On the cutting edge

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

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From streamlining the drug development process to quantifying adeno-associated virus aggregation, from pathogen detection and high-throughput screening to immunotherapy screening, and from liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LCMS) to preclinical imaging, we have news of hardware and software tools from Accenture and Bayer, Postnova Analytics, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc. and MR Solutions.
Accenture collaborates with Bayer on INTIENT Clinical
NEW YORK—In mid-September, Accenture announced a collaboration with Bayer to implement the Accenture INTIENT Clinical platform to help simplify and speed its drug development processes. The platform, which went live at Bayer earlier this year, brings internal and external clinical data together with Oracle cloud-based technologies into a single data management and warehousing platform, creating actionable insights to accelerate drug development and improve patient outcomes.
 The Accenture INTIENT Clinical platform is part of Accenture INTIENT and builds upon Accenture’s platforms for research, clinical development, pharmacovigilance and patient services. It is said to rapidly integrate new technology, advanced analytics and applied intelligence to support the delivery of patient treatments.
Said Mike Stapleton, a managing director in Accenture’s Life Sciences practice: “We are excited to work with Bayer to provide new insights on their clinical trials so they can bring the important treatments they develop to patients faster and with the highest quality. The future of R&D is bright when leading organizations come together to solve for patients’ greatest needs.”
The INTIENT Clinical platform was developed through an alliance between Accenture and Oracle. It combines Accenture’s implementation experience with solutions such as the Oracle Health Sciences Data Management Workbench and Oracle Life Sciences Data Hub. Together, these solutions reportedly generate high-quality, reliable data from clinical trials and reduce the time, effort and cost needed to take drugs from development to market.
Quantifying adeno-associated virus aggregation
LANDSBERG, Germany—Postnova Analytics Inc. has published a new applications study that reports on how asymmetric flow field flow fractionation (AF4) coupled with multiangle light scattering and ultraviolet detectors can be used to quantify adeno-associated virus (AAV) aggregation.
Adeno-associated viruses are gaining widespread popularity as vehicles for gene therapy due to their versatility and safety, the company notes. However, one of the biggest concerns for manufacturing a uniform AAV suspension is the presence of viral aggregates, which can create problems with transduction efficiency, biodistribution and immunogenicity. Due to their large size—often over 100 nm in diameter—AAV aggregates are challenging to separate and characterize by traditional column-based chromatography techniques.
The Postnova AF2000 used in the study is a modular, high-performance AF4 platform for separation of nanoparticles and macromolecules in complex matrices.
Pathogen detection and immunoassay tools from Bio-Rad
HERCULES, Calif.—Bio-Rad Laboratories recently announced the launch of the Reliance One-Step Multiplex Supermix, a highly sensitive and robust reagent mix for detection and quantification of up to five RNA or DNA targets in one reaction.
One-step RT-qPCR–based applications are increasingly being used in life-sciences research to quickly quantify genes of interest directly from many RNA samples simultaneously, the company notes, and the applications are used in particular and for virus/pathogen detection and for high-throughput screening.
“The Reliance One-Step Multiplex Supermix was specifically formulated to offer increased sensitivity and rapid results to address a wide range of RNA detection questions,” said Yann Jouvenot, Bio-Rad’s marketing manager for gene expression. “Used as part of a workflow along with our CFX Automation System II and PrimePCR Probe Assays, the supermix helps researchers maximize their throughput as well as the quality of their RT-qPCR data.”
In addition, the company also recently launched its Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex Multiplex Assay, which measures 20 different biologically-researched cytokine targets that are associated with the activity of immunotherapy drugs.
Messenger molecules such as cytokines are involved in the communication within the immune system and play a vital role in a variety of conditions, including cancer and autoimmune diseases. Advancing discoveries in immunotherapy can be time-consuming as existing immunoassay tools may not be tailored to cover specific targets including cytokine targets, the company notes. The Bio-Plex Pro Human Immunotherapy Panel 20-plex covers biologically researched cytokine targets that are associated with immunotherapy research.
New flowrate-compatible ionization interface
COLUMBIA, Md.—Shimadzu Scientific Instruments has released the Micro-ESI 9030, an interface compatible with the Nexera Mikros Microflow LCMS that enables micro flowrate analysis with the LCMS-9030 quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) system.
The Micro-ESI 9030 is said to detect target components with much higher sensitivity compared to analytical systems by optimizing the ESI probe position relative to the sample injection port for low flowrates. The high efficiency of microflow chromatography is thus maintained throughout the ion introduction process to the mass spectrometer. The system also features shorter analysis times and is more durable than nano flowrate compatible LCMS systems.
The Nexera Mikros Microflow LCMS system covers the complete range from microflow to semi-microflow, allowing operators to realize high sensitivity, yet with the reliability and ruggedness of HPLC. System configuration options include a direct injection system for sample volume-limited analyses for rapid and highly sensitive micro LCMS analysis without sample loss. A trap and elute system is available for analyses with larger injection volumes or when some degree of sample cleanup is desirable. A make-up flow system includes the addition of a post-column make-up flow pump, allowing mobile phase modifiers to be added to ensure the highest ionization efficiency in the MS source.
The LCMS-9030 Q-TOF system is a research-grade mass spectrometer designed to deliver high-resolution, accurate-mass detection with incredibly fast data acquisition rates, allowing scientists to identify and quantify more compounds with greater confidence.
Preclinical imaging helps researchers better understand aging
GUILDFORD, U.K.—Research published in Nature by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) found that lymphatic vessels in the skull involved in the clearance of cerebrospinal fluid often become compromised with age. This finding was only possible through advances in imaging technology, says MR Solutions. Using the company’s 3T/17 preclinical liquid-helium-free MRI system, the KAIST researchers observed how the meningeal lymphatic vessels (mLVs), mainly in the basal part of the skull, are involved in the clearance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). They found that as people age, the integrity of the mLVs and subsequent CSF drainage is impaired.
Said Prof. Sung-Hong Park of KAIST: “It’s only now with far better imaging systems, such as MR Solutions’ 3T MRI scanner, that this type of research is possible.”
MR Solutions’ 3 Tesla MRI system provided preclinical molecular imaging of rodents in in-vivo applications. Two baseline reference scans were taken during the project with 32 dynamic scans with time interval of 4 minutes 36 seconds. A contrast agent was also used during the research with MR Solutions’ Powerscan software solution providing data collection.

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