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January News and Product Briefs

News Briefs

The New York Genome Center (NYGC) received a combined $100 million gift from the Simons Foundation and The Carson Family Charitable Trust. Both charities are led by members of the NYGC’s board. Funds from the grant go toward collaborative genomics resources shared among New York’s research and medical institutions; new genomic health discoveries; the creation of new laboratories to scale genomics technology; and acquiring and developing emerging technologies. Press release (PDF)

BGI acquired a Sequel System from Pacific Biosciences, and plans to purchase additional units in order to further integrate SMRT sequencing into its global service business. The Sequel System is designed for projects such as rapidly and cost-effectively generating high-quality, whole-genome de novo assemblies. (For more on PacBio’s newest instrument, see “A Worthy Sequel.”) Press release

Macrogen has purchased multiple DRAGEN Bio-IT Processors from Edico Genome, to reinforce its big data processing and analysis capacity for large-scale genome analysis and clinical sequencing services. Macrogen provides various genome analysis services, including a whole human genome sequencing service using a HiSeq X Ten platform. The company’s IT infrastructure capacity exceeds 11 petabytes of storage and more than 3,000 core clusters. (For more news on the DRAGEN system, see “New Data and Deployments from Edico Genome.”) Press release

BC Platforms signed a partnership with Auria Biobank to develop a genomic data management system. Auria Biobank, the first clinical biobank in Finland, links millions of human tissue samples to data from hospital records and National Health Care registers. BC Platforms will implement a system to integrate sample management with real-time clinical information and genomic data, and will assume responsibility for its ongoing maintenance. Press release

Illumina filed two patent infringement suits in Europe, regarding the use of cell-free fetal DNA for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). The suits concern the use of Ariosa’s Harmony NIPT test by The Doctors Laboratory in the United Kingdom, and Premaitha Health’s Iona NIPT test by multiple labs in Poland. Illumina is also engaged in ongoing suits against both Ariosa and Premaitha. Press release

Cambridge Semantics 
acquired the intellectual property of SPARQL City and hired former CEO and founder Barry Zane and other top executives from the firm. The new IP will be used to expand Cambridge Semantics’ Anzo Smart Data Platform for enterprise-wide data lake and analytic initiatives, which will now feature SPARQL City’s graph analysis capabilities. Press release

Sophia Genetics opened a research and development wet laboratory at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland. Sophia will use this new facility to test its machine learning algorithms against new cases of complex genomic alterations with a broad range of biological samples and across a number of wet lab technologies. Sophia’s flagship product, Sophia DDM, is used in clinical centers to analyze patients’ genetic make-up for common cancers and inherited conditions. Press release

Purdue University will invest more than $250 million in the life sciences over the next five years, creating dozens of new positions across six colleges, purchasing new instrumentation, and creating shared research facilities. The funding includes the establishment of an Integrative Neuroscience Center and an Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease. Purdue will also make a multi-million-dollar investment in high-throughput screening instrumentation and create a chemical genomics facility for the Purdue Center for Drug Discovery. Press release

Vertex Pharmaceuticals will use Genomics plc’s integrated database and analysis tools to inform its drug research and development. These tools will be used to test the rationale for targeting Vertex’s pathways of interest, and to identify potential safety concerns and repositioning opportunities. Genomics plc has several existing partnerships with large pharmaceutical companies, and is also a Platform Partner for Genomics England, the company undertaking the 100,000 Genomes Project in the UK. Press release

New Products

Biodesy launched the Biodesy Delta System for measuring conformational changes in protein structure. The product combines advanced optics, automated 384-well plate processing, and a simple workflow to generate high-throughput data on protein structural change with the ease of use of a straightforward biochemical assay. Press release

PerkinElmer introduced two new instruments at the 2016 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) Conference and Exhibition at the San Diego Convention Center. The Chemagic 360-D Instrument uses PerkinElmer’s Chemagen technology platform to automate DNA and RNA isolation from blood, saliva, and plasma on a benchtop instrument. The Operetta CLS High-Content Analysis System, for high-content imaging experiments, analyzes samples with automated water immersion objectives that deliver better quality image data, stable LED illumination, true confocal optics, and a high-resolution sCMOS camera. Press release

DNAnexus announced the integration of its cloud-based genomics platform with Sapio Sciences’ Exemplar Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) solution for clinical and research labs. The combined product provides an end-to-end laboratory management and informatics solution in the cloud, which can collect, store, analyze, and share genomic data, while also tracking sample inventory and automating clinical genomic workflows. Press release

Seven Bridges announced that its cloud-based platform for large-scale genomic discovery is now deployed on Google Cloud Platform. The Seven Bridges Platform is the first such system to be available on multiple public cloud infrastructures. Users of Seven Bridges running on GCP also have access to the most up-to-date version of the Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK), made available without a separate license through Google’s collaboration with the Broad Institute. Press release

Ambry Genetics launched Progeny Cloud, which is used to manage patients’ pedigrees and family history data in order to identify genetic risk factors. Progeny Cloud is a cost-free version of Progeny Clinical, which Ambry acquired in April 2015. The platform’s Family History Questionnaire feature lets patients themselves build detailed records of their health history, and this information is integrated with genotype data and laboratory testing. Press release

Definiens released the Tissue Studio 4.2 software package, an upgrade to its flagship tissue imaging analysis platform. The updated product includes a TMA brightness slider for improved TMA core detection, and improved needle biopsy registration to allow more accurate transfer of the regions of interest between consecutive slides. Tissue Studio 4.2 also provides the ability to create “Heat Maps” based on combinations of readouts and object features, for more precise visual review of the local distribution of biomarker expression―for example, when imaging immune cell populations in the tumor microenvironment. Press release

Qlucore unveiled Qlucore Omics Explorer 3.2, the latest version of its data analysis software. It includes new clustering features to find subgroups among data samples and to see whether the samples naturally distribute themselves into distinct clusters. The upgrade also adds predictive modeling, and several new plot options. Press release (PDF)

IDBS unveiled E-WorkBook Connect, a secure portal for R&D organizations to collaborate with external partners. A module of IDBS’ E-WorkBook software, the cloud-based tool provides a space for users to coordinate project activities, handle assay data and documents, and discuss or review content. The tool feeds data from third-parties back into internal corporate systems, without granting access to private corporate content. Press release

Domainex, a small-molecule drug discovery company, announced an alliance with Cresset Discovery Services to combine their respective capabilities in chemistry and biology for a laboratory-based and computational drug discovery service. The alliance will give clients access to Domainex’s expertise of in protein expression, biochemical assays, hit identification, computational and medicinal chemistry, as well as Cresset’s computational technologies for hit identification and drug design. Press release



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