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October News and Product Briefs

News Briefs

Edico Genome entered a research collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection (OAMD), to evaluate the performance of Edico Genome’s DRAGEN hardware platform. The collaboration will focus on co-developing the databases, configurations and parameters to optimize the hardware platform for microbial applications in public health. (For a recent use case that involved the DRAGEN platform, see “Speed Heals: The 26-Hour Diagnostic Genome.”) Press release

One Codex, a platform for rapid matching of microbial DNA to reference databases, launched out of beta. New features includes HIPAA-level protection of data in transit, panels for functional interrogation of genes, and new organization and search tools. (For more on One Codex, see “One Codex and Microbiology’s Search Problem.”) Announcement

Sequence Bioinformatics and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador selected Genospace’s Population Analytics platform to support a precision medicine initiative. Sequence Bio, in partnership with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, seeks to engage 100,000 consenting participants in a large-scale initiative to capture a wealth of genomic and phenotypic data. The initiative will make the resulting information and analysis available to a variety of organizations in order to improve patient care. Genospace Population Analytics will enable collaboration between academic, government and industry partners, and provide translational medicine capabilities for patient care. Press release

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) awarded approximately $40 million to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to provide whole genome sequencing of 20,000 individuals, as well as data to support smaller pilots in transcriptome sequencing and metabolite profiling. This project is part of NHLBI's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which will use whole genome sequencing in the study of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders (HLBS). In addition, the program aims to gather additional data on DNA methylation, RNA expression patterns and metabolic profiling, along with phenotypic and clinical outcome data. Press release

Emulate was awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to apply the company’s Organs-on-Chips to investigate the potential safety liabilities observed in a class of drug candidates called LRRK2 kinase inhibitors for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The MJFF grant will fund studies that use Emulate’s system to evaluate and compare the parameters of lung toxicity that have been observed in animal studies with LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. (For more on Emulate, see “With Johnson and Johnson, Harvard Spinoff Emulate Unveils New Organs-on-Chips.”) Press release

Caribou Biosciences and DuPont formed a strategic alliance to advance the two companies’ respective CRISPR-derived genome editing technology platforms. The agreement includes the cross-licensing of key intellectual property, which allows Caribou to develop and use CRISPR-Cas technology for product development in human and animal therapeutics, diagnostics, industrial biotechnology, research tools, and certain agriculture segments. Caribou and DuPont will also engage in a multi-year research collaboration, funded by DuPont, and DuPont has made a minority equity investment in Caribou as part of Caribou’s recent Series A financing round. Press release

Good Start Genetics established a national relationship with UnitedHealthcare to serve as an in-network laboratory partner for a variety of genetic screening tests. These tests include carrier screening tests for guideline-recommended diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease. UnitedHealthcare is the largest insurer in the country, providing health benefits to over 43 million individuals. Press release (PDF)

SERMO, a social network for physicians, and Global Genes, a rare disease patient advocacy organization, are partnering to provide patients with access to hundreds of thousands of physicians from around the world who may be able to accelerate their diagnoses and treatments through medical crowdsourcing. As part of the partnership, SERMO is launching a new program called SERMOheroes, which will allow patients and their families who are working with Global Genes to have their cases submitted to SERMO for advice on diagnostics and treatments for free. SERMO is creating a Rare Disease Hub on the network to house SERMOheroes patient cases. Press release

Berg joined an industry collaboration with Genomics England, which plans to sequence 100,000 human genomes and create a new genomic medicine service for the National Health Services (NHS) by 2017. The project focuses on patients with rare diseases and six common cancers. Through the GENE Consortium, Berg will work on an industry trial involving a selection of whole genome sequences across cancer and rare diseases, developing an analytical tool that will be used to process data from the 100,000 Genomes Project. (For more on Berg, see “Berg and the Pursuit of the Body’s Hidden Drugs.”) Press release

GenomeDx Biosciences
 and Cedars-Sinai partnered on the Decipher Genomics Resource Information Database (Decipher GRID), a clinical genomics data sharing program. Through the program, Cedars-Sinai will use GenomeDx’s Decipher Prostate Cancer Classifier to aid with treatment decisions following prostate cancer surgery. GenomeDx is conducting whole genome profiling for patients included in the program and matching those data to prospectively collected clinical outcomes for patients treated at major cancer centers. The program around Decipher GRID is initially for men with prostate cancer and is expected to expand into other urologic cancers. Press release

IO Informatics became a member of the tranSMART Foundation, which provides an open-source knowledge management platform for scientists to share pre-competitive translational research data. IO Informatics also announced that CEO Robert Stanley will join the Foundation’s Board of Directors. (For more on tranSMART, see “Michael J. Fox Foundation Brings Parkinson’s Data to tranSMART.”) Press release

BGI and the Smithsonian Institution signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the purpose of providing a framework for collaboration between their institutions, to facilitate increased collaboration in environmental and biodiversity science, and to develop research in biodiversity genomics. The two parties intend to collaborate in scientific areas focused on biodiversity, evolution, ecology, and conservation through the application of genomic technologies, data management and analytics, and bioinformatics. SI and BGI will also establish global networks for information sharing and exchange and develop training initiatives for scientists.

Genomics plc entered into a collaboration agreement with Oxford University and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a research project focused on the translation of whole genome sequencing into clinical practice. The project, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Department of Health through the Health Innovation Challenge (HIC) Fund, aims to establish genome sequencing as a clinical tool across disorders including rare diseases and cancers. As part of the agreement, Genomics’ bioinformatics tools will be applied to analyze and interpret up to 500 genome sequences. Press release

Genestack secured £90,000, through an Innovate UK grant, to work with Rothamsted Research, an agricultural research institute, to expand their capabilities in agri-informatics. A joint feasibility study will look at ways to improve how high-throughput bioinformatics techniques are used to support genomics-based approaches to research in crop improvement and crop protection, and will include components of Rothamsted’s QTLNetMiner software and Genestack’s bioinformatics platform. Press release

Rick Friedman previously of Dell’s Research Computing team has joined Cycle Computing as VP of Solutions. Friedman has gained his experience at other high performance technology companies like Terascala, and Scali.  Press Release

New Products

Oracle unveiled the Oracle Cloud Platform for Big Data, featuring a variety of new services. Oracle Big Data Preparation Cloud Service enables customers to automate data ingestion, preparation, repair, enrichment, and governance. Oracle GoldenGate Cloud Service enables high volume and low-latency data movement into Big Data Lake and Data Warehouse services in the cloud. Oracle Big Data Discovery Cloud Service extends Oracle’s big data analytics to the cloud. Oracle NoSQL Database Cloud Service provides a key-value data store for simple operations on collections of data with built-in high availability and elastic scale-out. Press release

PerkinElmer announced the launch of PerkinElmer Signals for Translational, a cloud-based data management, aggregation and analysis platform for pharmaceutical researchers. This platform integrates data from many sources and relates the data to scientifically meaningful concepts. It is designed to integrate experimental and clinical data from existing proprietary databases, private and public databases such as GEO and tranSMART, and connect with other enterprise systems. PerkinElmer Signals for Translational provides a simplified user interface and a data model designed for identification and management of biomarkers. Press release

Thermo Scientific released the NanoDrop One and NanoDrop OneC UV-Vis microvolume spectrophotometers. These spectrophotometers introduce the Thermo Scientific Acclaro Sample Intelligence technology, which includes embedded sensor and digital image analysis, and enables researchers to identify sample contaminants, obtain corrected concentration results, and receive instant feedback about sample quality. Product page

Optibrium, providers of software for compound optimisation, and chemoinformatics specialist BioSolveIT announced that they will collaborate to create integrated data analysis, visualisation and simulation software for drug research. Both companies will exchange their proprietary technologies, by integrating predictive models of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) and physicochemical properties from Optibrium’s StarDrop platform as an optional feature within BioSolveIT’s SeeSAR package. SeeSAR’s capabilities to work with 3D structural information will also be integrated into StarDrop’s compound design environment. Press release (PDF)

SCIEX announced the launch of SCIEXNow Online, a personalized online support network with management tools, knowledge and training, application support, and multiple ways to connect with SCIEX experts. Press release




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