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May-June News and Product Briefs


News Briefs

Myriad Genetics and cancer experts from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and other laboratories will collaborate on the creation of a research study called the Prospective Registry of Multiplex Testing (PROMPT). PROMPT aims to create an online registry of individuals consenting to a prospective follow-up after having been tested with a pan-cancer panel test, such as Myriad's myRisk Hereditary Cancer, and to build infrastructure for the curation of specific genetic variants detected. Myriad will contribute thousands of genetic mutations found during the testing of over 1.3 million patients for hereditary cancer risk. Press release 

Eli Lilly and Company announced it will begin sharing its clinical trial data with scientific researchers through www.clinicalstudydatarequest.com. This website, which houses data from several clinical trial sponsors, was created in support of ongoing efforts by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to increase access to and transparency of clinical trial results with researchers around the world. The portal differs from previous Lilly data-sharing sites in that an independent scientific review panel, in which Lilly will not be involved, will be responsible for granting access to clinical trial data after reviewing research proposals from applicants. Press release 

QuantuMDx Group, a handheld molecular diagnostics device company, closed an $8.42 million funding round it syndicated with philanthropist private investors and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne following the recent publicity success of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The funds will be used to further optimize and trial Q-POC, QuantuMDx’s handheld DNA sequencing and genotyping device, in addition to extending the company’s assay pipeline, expanding its research teams and appointing an Advisory Board. Field trials will commence in early 2015 for Q-POC’s first assays in malaria speciation/drug resistance, in partnership with NGOs and hospitals in several African countries, and a companion diagnostic for warfarin within the UK’s National Health Service. Press release 

For more information on QuantuMDx’ lead device and crowdfunding campaign, see “QuantuMDx Launces MoIDx Indiegogo Campaign.”

The American Society of Human Genetics and the Jackson Laboratory will team up to produce educational programs to integrate genetic and genomic advances into healthcare. ASHG members and Jackson Laboratory faculty have jointly organized and taught an annual, two-week “Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics” for more than 50 years. Through the new collaboration, the Jackson Laboratory and ASHG will further coordinate their educational activities by developing complementary programs. The first joint educational program will aim to educate primary care physicians on cancer genetic testing, and is slated for launch in November 2014 at the new Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn. Press release 

Natera, Inc. and the International 22q11.2 Foundation entered a partnership to raise awareness about 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and the importance of early diagnosis. The partnership aims to encourage scientific research, influence current medical practice and raise awareness among the medical community and general population. One of the most common human genetic disorders, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (“22q”) occurs when a small piece of the 22nd chromosome is missing, and it can lead to severe clinical outcomes. Natera’s Panorama test is currently the only non-invasive prenatal test on the market that uses a SNP-based approach to screen for chromosomal abnormalities, including microdeletions like 22q. Press release 

For more detailed coverage of recent developments in prenatal diagnostics, see “A European Look at the Changing Landscape of Prenatal Testing.”

Celmatix began a clinical trial for Polaris, a platform that aims to help doctors at fertility clinics design personalized treatment plans based on a couple's specific clinical metrics. The predictive models that power Polaris are the first to show side-by-side comparisons of a patient's cumulative chances for success with in vitro fertilization (IVF) now and in the future, timed intercourse, and non-IVF treatments. The clinical study will enroll 1,000 patients. Celmatix’s preclinical analyses, using retroactive data, found Polaris to be more accurate than published predictive models on fertility treatment outcomes, but this trial will be the first test of Polaris in an active clinical setting. Press release 

Berg and the Medical University of South Carolina announced a partnership to identify new therapeutic pathways and potential biomarkers for Lupus. Berg's Interrogative Biology platform will be applied to several serum, urine, and kidney data points from lupus patients and controls in the Medical University of South Carolina rheumatology clinics. The partnership will analyze the disease pathophysiology using the metabolomics, lipidomics, and proteomics data from tissue samples, expanding the search for a biomarker to predict the onset and progression of Lupus. PR Newswire 

TeraDiscoveries, Inc. changed its corporate name to Cloud Pharmaceuticals, effective immediately. Cloud Pharmaceuticals designs new drugs and drug candidates using cloud computing technology, and manages the development of multiple drug candidates through a network of partners. Cloud Pharmaceuticals uses a method originally developed at Duke University called Inverse Design to scan virtual chemical libraries to find the strongest inhibitors of a specific biological target. Press release 

Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc. expanded its laboratories to address increased demand for life science research tools. Rockland’s new, 60,000 square foot facilities were constructed in Limerick, PA.  The new facilities consist of clean rooms for cell culture, suites for molecular biology, larger lot capacity production capabilities and increased aseptic processing areas. Space is also reserved in the new facilities for growth areas, including epigenetics and stem cells. Press release 

Certara, a drug development and drug safety consultancy, appointed Dr. Edmundo Muniz as its new CEO. Dr. Muniz joins Certara from Kirax Corporation, where he has served as president and CEO since 2005. In that role, he focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing innovative specialty care therapies for oncology, pain, inflammation, acute and supportive care. Prior to that position, Dr. Muniz held several senior executive roles at Eli Lilly and Company. Press release 

New Products 

MolecularHealth announced the official launch of TreatmentMAP, its cancer treatment decision support offering, which was first made commercially available this April. TreatmentMAP uses the results of next generation sequencing genetic tests to identify treatment options for each individual patient. The company has two available versions of its offering: TreatmentMAP Targeted Panel, the largest gene panel commercially available today, covering several thousand variants across 500 genes that have been associated with cancer outcomes; and TreatmentMAP Whole Exome, the first commercially available whole exome analysis for cancer, which examines the genes of both the tumor and germline. Both testing options incorporate SafetyMAP, a proprietary identification of drug target safety or resistance effects that uses the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting Systems as an input for analysis. Both tests results in simple-to-understand reports delivered to the patient’s medical team. Press release 

For more detailed coverage of MolecularHealth’s service, see “MolecularHealth Enters the American Cancer Genomics Market.”

Panasas unveiled the Panasas ActiveStor 16 for high-performance storage and big data workloads for technical research and enterprise customers. ActiveStor 16 marks the debut of the PanFS 6.0 file system, with RAID 6+ triple parity protection that achieves a 150x increase in reliability over dual parity approaches, and doubled capacity of on-system solid state drive resources for increased metadata and small file performance. ActiveStor 16 can achieve up to 122.4 TB of capacity per 4U enclosure, providing more than 1.2 PB per rack, and up to 150 GB per second data throughput with capacity that scales beyond 12 PB in a single file system. Press release 

Affymetrix and BioDiscovery, Inc. together launched a new analysis software, Nexus Copy Number for Affymetrix, specifically for data generated by Affymetrix’ genetic analysis platforms in cancer research, including CytoScan, Cytogenetics Suite, and OncoScan FFPE Assay Kit. Nexus Copy Number analyzes large genetic datasets for copy number variants, which can be used to identify new biomarkers. Press release 

Mirantis, an OpenStack company, announced the general availability of Mirantis OpenStack Express, an on-demand private Cloud-as-a-Service for enterprises. The new web service enables companies to stand up private clouds and make them available to developers and end users in minutes. Mirantis OpenStack Express had been in beta release for the past eight weeks and is currently being used by enterprises like Alcatel-Lucent, General Electric, Liberty Mutual, McAfee, Symantec, Sprint and others. Key features include an instant OpenStack Private Cloud with elastic capacity on-demand, direct admin control of host with no sharing of hardware among customers, and customizable security for each customer. Press release 

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