Synthego, DNAnexus, PAREXEL, And More: News From December 2017

January 3, 2018 | December featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including Synthego, DNAnexus, PAREXEL, and more.

Synthego announced the launch of its new CRISPRevolution Gene Knockout Kit (GKO) with the first guaranteed CRISPR gene editing solution. The GKO guarantee puts high-quality gene editing results within reach of all CRISPR researchers, including those developing emerging therapeutic modalities with increasing genome engineering demands such as CAR-T immunotherapy and treatment of monogenic diseases. “Synthego's kits enable us to rapidly modify difficult-to-edit human hematopoietic stem cells, as well as primary T cells, in a cost-effective manner,” said Daniel Dever, Research Instructor in the Porteus Lab at Stanford University, in a press release. “Their platform is highly reliable for mediating high-level genome editing in therapeutically relevant cell types and has the potential to accelerate the translation of CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing to benefit human health.” Press release

DNAnexus announced closing a $58 million financing led by new investor Foresite Capital with strategic investment from Microsoft. Existing investors, GV (formerly Google Ventures), TPG Biotech, WuXi NextCODE, Claremont Creek Ventures, and MidCap Financial also participated. The company’s pioneering global platform enables a network of enterprises to effectively gain insight from large genomic and biomedical datasets. The equity investment supports the company’s continued expansion in the clinical trials market as well as the deployment of the company’s pioneering Translational Informatics Suite for pharmaceutical and other research organizations. Earlier this year, the company launched the Mosaic Microbiome Platform to advance methods aimed at increasing the understanding of the human microbiome and an early access program for Google Brain’s DeepVariant technology. The company also announced separate collaborations with AstraZeneca’s Centre for Genomics Research and Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. “The financing enables further development and the launch of our translational medicine solutions, as well as expanding our footprint in cloud-based management of genomic data in clinical trials,” Richard Daly, Chief Executive Officer of DNAnexus, said in a press release. “The next wave of biomedical insights is coming from cross-institutional collaborations that produce rapidly increasing amounts of multi-omics data. We are proud of our work dedicated to improving how global research and development organizations leverage large biomedical datasets to develop and deliver precision medicine solutions.” Press release

PAREXEL introduced the Perceptive Cloud to the life sciences industry, as part of the organization’s recent alliance with Microsoft. Perceptive Cloud elevates PAREXEL Informatics solutions into an enhanced cloud infrastructure built on Microsoft Azure, combining PAREXEL’s extensive industry expertise and innovative technology solutions with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services and investment in global compliance certifications and enterprise-grade security. The first group of integrated cloud services will include LIQUENT InSight Regulatory Information Management (RIM), Study Start-Up, DataLabs Electronic Data Capture (EDC), Managed Access Programs, and IMPACT Clinical Trial Management (CTMS). Perceptive Cloud is designed to respond to the need within healthcare to deliver cost-effective innovation while trusting that sensitive information will stay secure across global environments. Introducing Perceptive Cloud represents the first milestone of the enterprise alliance between PAREXEL and Microsoft aimed at leveraging the cloud to optimize performance and jointly innovate to offer new clinical development solutions and more site- and patient-centric technologies. Press release

Quantum announced Xcellis Scale-out NAS, the industry’s first workflow storage appliance to provide the management capabilities and robust features of enterprise scale-out NAS with the cost-effective scaling organizations need to address modern data growth. It delivers greater than 3X the performance of competitive enterprise NAS offerings and, with integrated storage tiering, an end-to-end solution can cost as little as 1/10 that of alternative enterprise NAS solutions with the same capacity and performance. This combination makes Xcellis Scale-out NAS unique in comprehensively addressing the needs of high-value data environments where the organization’s revenue and products are all built around data. Press release

Clinical researchers interested in studying driver mutations suspected in hematological malignancies now have access to a new targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) research panel for simultaneous analysis of 74 relevant genes. Thermo Fisher Scientific's Ion Torrent Oncomine Myeloid Research Assay interrogates DNA mutations, RNA fusion transcripts and gene expression levels associated with myeloid cancers in a single run, yielding results in 2-3 days. Current approaches for analyzing hematological disorders often require multiple sequential analyses using varying technologies, which are cumbersome to implement in a laboratory, not cost-effective and can significantly delay time to results. As more research is done around blood-based cancers, scientists will need to examine more gene targets. NGS can support further development of comprehensive assay designs that enable simultaneous analysis of targeted content to overcome the complexity and hurdles associated with a sequential, single biomarker screening approach. The Oncomine Myeloid Research Assay has been designed to analyze 40 DNA genes, 29 fusion driver genes and five gene expression levels associated with several myeloid cancers, including: Myeloid leukemia (AML), Myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS), Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), and Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Press release

Science Exchange announced the partnership with Bioinformatics Solutions to offer online access to its protein de novo sequencing services to scientists around the globe. As the creators of the well-known, highly established PEAKS Software, Bioinformatics Solutions offers their de novo sequencing expertise to scientists at a new level by sequencing the samples themselves. “Bioinformatics Solutions has developed a proprietary de novo protein sequencing workflow to retrieve the amino acid sequence of an unknown antibody protein with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques. Through this workflow, the sequence assembly is purely based on de novo sequencing. Therefore, no database, cDNA, mRNA, or hybridoma cell line is required,” Baozhen Shan, CEO of Bioinformatics Solutions, wrote in a statement. “With constant ongoing research at Bioinformatics Solutions, Inc., the advanced technology will ensure our service delivers a highly accurate sequence, identification of sequence variants, glycosylations, and unknown modifications.  By partnering with Science Exchange, these sequencing services will now be available to researchers all over the world to help them make breakthrough discoveries.” Press release

Obsidian announced the completion of a $49.5 million Series A financing to further build its technology platform and advance its lead programs toward clinical development. The Series A financing was led by GV, with participation from Atlas Venture, as well as Takeda Ventures, Vertex Ventures, Amgen Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and ShangPharma Investment Group. The company has also named serial entrepreneur and biotechnology executive Michael Gilman as Chief Executive Officer. Obsidian has developed a suite of platform technologies that allow for exquisite control of protein activity in cells, thereby enabling tunable cell and gene therapies. The technological foundation of Obsidian’s approach is the use of destabilizing domains (DD), pioneered by Obsidian’s scientific founder, Thomas Wandless, a leading researcher in chemical and systems biology. The system is composed of two parts – a synthetic biological cassette that is installed in the gene vector and a small-molecule drug that controls the activity of the cassette. Obsidian’s cassettes are controllable with readily-available, non-immunosuppressive, FDA-approved small-molecule medicines. Press release

For the first time ever, Nano-Flow particle imaging provides digital images of particles ranging in size from 300nm to 30µm using patented, oil immersion technology for enhanced optical resolution. The new FlowCam Nano from global laboratory instrumentation manufacturer Fluid Imaging Technologies is the world’s only flow imaging nano particle analyzer. The FlowCam Nano reveals protein agglomerates, silicon oil droplets, glass shards and other opaque, transparent and translucent sub-visible particles with the high resolution imagery needed for identification. Particle analyzers based on light obscuration, dynamic light scatter, Brownian motion or Coulter Principle are unable to image these particles and allow for their identification. Ideal for analytical scientists, biochemists, formulation scientists, lab managers and other biopharmaceutical professionals, the new FlowCam Nano was developed to find, expose and identify nanoparticles in protein formulations and help track the progression of protein agglomerates from individual, proteinaceous particles into the larger aggregates that pose a threat to the safety, efficacy, stability and longevity of parenteral bioformulations. In addition, the FlowCam Nano may serve as an invaluable companion to USP<788> compliance testing methods for particulate matter by documenting the presence and type of nano-scale particles, which may cause failed test results. Press release

SAGE has substantially expanded their investment in the RightsLink for Open Access platform from Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). RightsLink for Open Access is a metadata-driven e-commerce platform that helps publishers provide a best-in-class experience for their authors throughout the publication process by streamlining author fee transactions for open access charges, page charges, color charges, and more, right within the workflow. Press release

GenScript announced that it and GenScript USA Holding have entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the issued shares of CustomArray, a privately held DNA microarray company that provides customized oligonucleotide pools and microarrays to many of the world's leading academic and industrial organizations for applications in targeted sequencing, complex DNA libraries, synthetic biology, shRNA libraries, and CRISPR, from all of its shareholders. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "The acquisition of CustomArray further strengthens our synthetic biology product portfolio with a unique technology that we believe will enhance our customers' ability to accelerate innovation in drug discovery and development, genome editing, protein engineering, and synthetic biology," said GenScript CEO Frank Zhang, in a press release. Press release

Ginkgo announced the opening of Bioworks3 – Ginkgo’s third foundry for prototyping and scaling engineered organisms. This expansion is supported by $275 million in a Series D round with participation from all previous investors, including Viking Global, Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, and Cascade Investment, as well as new investors, including General Atlantic. This brings the company’s total funding to $429 million. Bioworks3 will bring the power of biology to new markets including pharmaceuticals, agriculture and textiles, and accelerate the timeline for bringing current projects to commercial scale. Press release

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