On the cutting edge

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

Nov 25, 2020
Jeffrey Bouley

Here’s a quick roundup of some recent news to help your labs and other pharma/biotech operations work better. This is the last time the “On the cutting edge” roundup will run in DDN as our redesigned magazine will, beginning with the December/January issue, feature a dedicated “Tools & Technology” news section each month.

Workflow automation for multi-omic analyses

BOSTON—Seven Bridges has announced enhancements to its automation portfolio that will make the running of multi-omic analysis workflows a more intuitive, user-friendly experience for a wider mix of end-users with varying levels of expertise. Specifically, the introduction of the new RHEO Visual Interface means computational biologists and developers can now work within the same secure, cloud-compliant environment.

“As precision medicine continues to evolve, exploratory bioinformatics is becoming even more specific and complex,” said Bill Moss, CEO of Seven Bridges. “At the same time, the community of researchers continues to grow, which means that the need to bring simplification and reproducibility to the process of complex multi-omic analytics is intensifying. In making these enhancements to the Seven Bridges RHEO product portfolio, our goal is to empower this emerging population of users so they're better able to accelerate discovery and optimize the commercialization of novel medicines.”

A comprehensive solution for toxicology

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Clinical research laboratories facing the challenges of analyzing increasing numbers of analytes in biological matrices can now more easily and rapidly optimize their liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods for targeted screening and quantification.

The new Thermo Fisher Scientific Tox Explorer Collection offers a comprehensive LC-MS workstream for toxicology assays, consisting of proven and tested methods enabling toxicology laboratories to achieve accurate, high-resolution data, regardless of analyte type, matrix complexities or user expertise. The Tox Explorer Collection consists of a comprehensive library of analytes, allowing for faster identification and targeted screening assays with 1,500 compounds confirmed in a single analysis.

Accelerating adoption of HiFi sequencing

MENLO PARK, Calif.—Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. has launched of the Sequel IIe System, the next instrument evolution based on the company’s Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing technology. With increased computational capacity and on-instrument data processing, the new system reportedly can directly produce highly accurate long reads (HiFi reads) more quickly and more cost-effectively than ever, providing scientists with a comprehensive view of genomes and transcriptomes.

“Prior to HiFi sequencing, researchers used multiple technologies and complex analysis methods in order to obtain results comparable to HiFi data,” said Christian Henry, CEO of Pacific Biosciences. “With the Sequel IIe System, it’s now simple to produce HiFi data directly, and scientists can feel confident using only one technology to power their genetic discoveries.”

CRISPR validation services

HERLEV, Denmark—Samplix recently launched a new service to inject transparency into the gene-editing technology CRISPR. The service team receives, handles and manages samples of engineered genomes and, using Xdrop Indirect Sequence Capture, they enrich long DNA fragments.

Xdrop is Samplix’s proprietary technology to enrich genomic regions longer than 100 kb from as little as 1 ng genomic DNA and with single-molecule resolution. Unlike other target enrichment methods, Xdrop requires knowledge of only a short sequence within or flanking the target region for efficient target selection. Following targeted selection, multiple displacement amplification is applied to single DNA molecules compartmentalized in droplets. This reportedly help ensure unbiased amplification of large DNA fragments that are representative of the target variation in the original sample.

“Our R&D team was able to demonstrate that Xdrop can characterize unintended deletions and rearrangements occurring during CRISPR editing that go undetected with commonly used validation methods. We felt it was important to help researchers avoid methodological traps that might hide the broader outcome of their editing. Our new services bring that transparency to any lab,” said the company’s vice president of commercial operations, Henrik Pfundheller.

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