On the cutting edge

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

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This month’s roundup of recent product and service news includes an RNA Library Prep Kit from Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., cannabis processing upgrades from Adastra Labs Holdings Ltd., a new CO2 sensor for incubators from CO2Meter Inc., the movement of HyStem technology for the R&D market to Advanced BioMatrix, and scale-up of a novel silicon chip for synthetic biology from Evonetix Ltd.

Bio-Rad enters RNA-Seq library prep market
HERCULES, Calif.—Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. in January announced the launch of the SEQuoia Complete Stranded RNA Library Prep Kit, which the company calls “a novel approach to RNA-Seq library preparation” that offers a “holistic view of the complete transcriptome in a simplified workflow and is compatible with a broad range of sample inputs from a variety of sample types including degraded RNA specimens.”
The launch of the SEQuoia Complete Kit follows Bio-Rad’s 2019 acquisition of 2D Genomics, a California Bay Area startup that developed and patented innovative enzyme technologies to improve next-generation sequencing (NGS) sample preparation, including SEQzyme, which is at the core of the SEQuoia Complete Stranded RNA Library Prep Kit. SEQzyme is said to be unique in that it couples cDNA synthesis with adapter addition in a continuous synthesis reaction, constructing sensitive and diverse libraries compatible with Illumina NGS platforms.
“We are pleased to add the technologies of 2D Genomics to Bio-Rad’s portfolio of enabling genomic solutions,” said Annette Tumolo, president of the Life Science Group at Bio-Rad. “We believe the SEQuoia Complete Stranded RNA Library Prep Kit will provide us a strong start as we step into the RNA sequencing preparation market. The kit’s ability to construct robust and complex libraries, including both short and long RNAs, can result in tremendous advancements in research, including the discovery of biologically relevant biomarkers beyond just mRNA.”

Adastra Labs installs cannabis processing equipment
LANGLEY, British Columbia—Adastra announced at the end of January the installation of its cannabis processing equipment at their facility in Langley. In early December, Adastra accepted the delivery of a GMP-compliant Series 140 supercritical CO2 extraction system and post-processing equipment from extraktLAB, a brand of United Science LLC.
Completion of the extraction equipment and post-processing equipment installation will allow Adastra to create what it calls “high-value cannabis extract products” from cannabis plant material immediately following the issuance of a Standard Processing License from Health Canada. The Series 140 extractor and associated post-processing equipment is reportedly capable of efficiently and safely removing THC and CBD from over 58,000 kg of cannabis biomass per year without the use of hydrocarbon solvents.

CO2Meter launches new incubator sensor for life sciences
ORMOND BEACH, Fla.—Early this year, CO2Meter, a manufacturer of gas detection and monitoring solutions, released a new MicroSENS Hightemp IR CO2 Incubator Sensor for incubators that monitors and controls the environments for cell cultures, tissue samples and bacteria growth patterns. The “highly anticipated” sensor reportedly will provide reliable and highly accurate gas measurement in incubators without having to remove the sensor during high-temperature sterilization cycles.
“We decided to partner with Micro-Hybrid Electronic GmbH because of their 20-plus years of experience in the manufacturing of IR components and measuring systems. We know that scientists, researchers and laboratory technicians worldwide need a proven, reliable and accurate means of precisely controlling their chambers' conditions, all while eliminating contamination,” noted Travis Lenander, CEO of CO2Meter. “The MicroSENS Hightemp sensor will set a new standard in the market because of its ability to accurately measure the precise CO2 concentration and to compensate temperature and humidity influence, while also being left in place during high-temperature sterilization cycles. Our field testing partners have told us that the ability to leave the MicroSENS Hightemp IR CO2 Incubator Sensor in place during sterilization is an enormous time and cost savings to their laboratories.”
Added Josh Pringle, vice president of business development for the company: “We strive to develop sensors and products that solve a customer’s needs. These solutions fill a ‘gap’ in the market that we can then capitalize on and sell in to. The CO2Meter team takes pride in our ability to identify and become experts in specific markets, allowing us to market and sell from a position of knowledge rather than being outsiders looking in.”

Advanced BioMatrix acquires HyStem from Lineage
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Advanced BioMatrix recently acquired the HyStem line of products from Lineage Cell Therapeutics. HyStem kits are based on innovative thiolated hyaluronic acid technology, allowing researchers to create customizable 3D hydrogels for culturing cells whose natural environment is rich in hyaluronic acid.
This acquisition includes the transfer of technology, intellectual property, know-how and assets for the manufacturing and sale of HyStem products for research and development purposes.
“The HyStem family of hyaluronan-based hydrogels is highly complementary and fits perfectly into our catalog of innovative 3D matrices and hydrogels,” said David Bagley, president of Advanced BioMatrix. “This acquisition will further strengthen the Advanced BioMatrix position as an industry leader in extracellular matrices and provide a broader range of high-quality products to our customers.”

Evonetix collaborates with imec to scale up third-generation DNA synthesis platform
CAMBRIDGE, U.K. & LEUVEN, Belgium—Evonetix, a synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, has partnered with imec, a research and innovation hub active in the fields of nanoelectronics and digital technologies, to increase production of Evonetix’s proprietary microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based silicon chips, enabling the platform to be manufactured at a commercial scale. The novel silicon chip is a key component of Evonetix’s desktop DNA platform which, once fully developed, will facilitate and enable the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology.
Evonetix’s technology utilizes a silicon chip, made by MEMS processing, that controls the synthesis of DNA at many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites or “pixels” on the chip surface in a highly parallel fashion. Following synthesis, strands are assembled on-chip into double-stranded DNA in a process that identifies and removes errors, enabling accuracy, scale and speed that is several orders of magnitude better than conventional approaches. Under the terms of the collaboration, imec will work with Evonetix to scale up manufacturing of the MEMS technology on 8-inch silicon wafers, enabling Evonetix to supply customers in volume. imec is able to leverage its experience in manufacturing silicon for life-sciences applications to transfer the novel Evonetix process to their foundries and to manage further expansion in volume.
“With the support of imec, a world-renowned leader in microchip technology, we will be able to optimize our highly parallel desktop platform for commercial supply,” stated Dr Matthew Hayes, chief technology officer at Evonetix.
According to Peter Peumans, vice president of the Life Science Technologies operation at imec: “We have extensive practical knowledge of chip design and technology, which we use to help develop innovative tools for the life sciences and pharma R&D. Evonetix has developed an innovative approach that integrates physics and biology to enable the production of high-fidelity long DNA in a highly parallel fashion. We are eager to contribute to their success using our nanotechnology capabilities.”

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