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Oxford Nanopore, Lifebit Biotech, Sinequa, And More: News From March 2020



March 30, 2020 | March featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including Oxford Nanopore, Lifebit Biotech, Sinequa, and more.

Iktos and SRI International (SRI) announced that the companies have entered into a collaboration agreement designed to accelerate discovery and development of novel anti-viral therapies. Under the collaboration, Iktos’ generative modeling technology will be combined with SRI’s SynFini, a fully automated end-to-end synthetic chemistry system, to design novel, optimized compounds and accelerate the identification of drug candidates to treat multiple viruses, including influenza and the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). Iktos’ AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps bring speed and efficiency to the drug discovery process by automatically designing virtual novel molecules that have all of the desirable characteristics of a novel drug candidate. This tackles one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid and iterative identification of molecules which simultaneously validate multiple bioactive attributes and drug-like criteria for clinical testing. SRI’s SynFini platform is designed to accelerate chemical discovery and development, and thereby bring new drugs to the clinic more quickly and affordably. The closed loop SynFini system automates the design, reaction screening and optimization (RSO), and production of target molecules. SynFini comprises three components that work seamlessly together: a software platform (SynRoute), a reaction screening platform (SynJet), and a multi-step flow chemistry automation and development platform (AutoSyn). By combining platforms for the accelerated molecular design and automated production of target molecules with established high-throughput biology, Iktos and SRI hope to demonstrate a new paradigm in extremely rapid drug discovery against high-value pharmaceutical targets. Press release

NuProbe has signed an agreement with Oxford Nanopore Technologies, where Oxford Nanopore has licensed NuProbe's Blocker Displacement Amplification technology globally for undisclosed consideration. The technology combination offers the potential to combine Oxford Nanopore sequencing, which offers real-time, rapid turnaround, scalable sequencing of any length DNA or RNA fragments, with the NuProbe technique to enable greater detection sensitivities and quantification of somatic mutations at less than 5% allele frequency. This collaboration will support the expanding use of Oxford Nanopore sequencing in applications such as cancer, where targeted sequencing for the characterization of SNVs and SVs can be achieved alongside methylation analysis using small, accessible devices such as MinION and Flongle. "NuProbe's Blocker Displacement Amplification (BDA) technology selectively suppresses PCR amplification of wildtype DNA sequences at hundreds of genomic loci," David Zhang, Head of Innovation at NuProbe, said in a press release. "Thus, BDA can enhance the analytical sensitivity of nanopore sequencing, and enables mutation profiling of low-abundance variants with accuracy comparable to or better than sequencing-by-synthesis platforms – supporting greater adoption of nanopore sequencing for oncology applications." The companies plan to collaborate on the development of software tools to enable researchers to design bespoke and highly sensitive panels based on the technology. The goal is to enable users to analyze somatic mutations and gene fusions from tumor tissue and blood, and to be able to scale up these workflows for rapid and high throughput use in any environment. Press release

Pharmaceutical, food and industrial laboratories can optimize their routine testing and quality control (QC) workflows with an enhanced high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system that delivers maximized instrument uptime and precision for any operator, regardless of experience. The new Thermo Scientific Vanquish Core HPLC Systems expand on the award-winning performance of the Vanquish platform to provide a productivity-enhancing solution for routine laboratories. From automatically monitoring and determining solvent and waste levels with the Vanquish Solvent Monitor, to continuous background monitoring of system health, the Vanquish Core HPLC System maintains consistent throughput of dependable results. "Routine analysis laboratories are expected to deliver precise results without delays. Chromatographers are often required to run methods from a diverse range of instrumentation, which presents a unique set of challenges, especially when integrating systems into an existing infrastructure," said Linda De Jesus, vice president and general manager, high performance chromatography solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific, in a press release. "While the Vanquish Core HPLC System enables our customers to deliver the results demanded of them, it also drastically simplifies method transfer and offers easy integration with many leading chromatography data system (CDS) software infrastructure." Press release

Lifebit Biotech announced it has been awarded International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 certification, a widely recognized international standard outlining best practices for information security management systems. The successful completion of this certification underscores Lifebit’s commitment to 100% data security and compliance, exemplified in its product Lifebit CloudOS, the fully federated cloud-native genomics operating system deployed by many leading life sciences organizations. ISO certification provides validation by a third-party audit firm that Lifebit meets strict security and compliance requirements for data protection. ISO 27001 certification is one of the most widely recognized and internationally accepted information security standards. Attaining this award requires companies to satisfy independent auditors that their business is systematic and rigorous in its approach to managing sensitive company and customer information. Genetic data privacy and compliance are ensured when federated data analysis methods are employed, which allows researchers to abstract analyses on top of secure multi-party computation systems. A federated approach allows two or more parties in a distributed system to perform secure analysis without exposing private data to risks, applying highly optimized privacy-preserving and secure computation techniques to safeguard genomic data sharing and analysis. Press release

Sinequa announced that Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers can purchase and deploy Sinequa’s Intelligent Search platform to find, discover, and extract relevant information across all of their enterprise content and data stores from AWS Marketplace. “In an effort to make our platform easily accessible to our customers in the cloud, we’re excited to announce that Sinequa is now available in AWS Marketplace. AWS is a leading cloud provider for customers in our key verticals including pharma, finance, and manufacturing. With AWS Marketplace, the process of buying and deploying Sinequa is now as seamless as possible,” said Xavier Pornain, Senior Vice President, North America at Sinequa, in a press release. “AWS Marketplace allows our clients to purchase software directly from AWS and have charges be seamlessly integrated into their AWS bill.” The availability of Sinequa in AWS Marketplace follows a series of product evolutions made by Sinequa to run large deployments with hundreds of nodes and billions of documents on AWS. Sinequa’s platform provides an unmatched connectivity to AWS data sources such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon RedShift, Amazon DynamoDB, and others. Press release

Visiopharm and Proscia have entered into a multi-year, strategic partnership to deliver deeply integrated AI-enabled solutions that drive breakthroughs in translational research and advance precision medicine. In addition to joint product integration, Visiopharm and Proscia have established a global reseller and support agreement to accelerate the delivery of these combined offerings to the market. The shift towards precision medicine has led to the rapid adoption of digital pathology across translational research, as new computational applications have the potential to unlock hidden insights that drive discoveries into breakthrough therapies. Despite this digitization, research organizations are struggling to incorporate computational data into the modern digital workflow due to the siloed deployment of isolated applications across image analysis and image management. Visiopharm and Proscia have joined forces to deliver a best-in-class unified solution that enables research organizations to better leverage computational image data. Available today, the integrated solution connects Visiopharm’s VIS AI-image analysis suite with Proscia’s Concentriq image management platform, enabling high-throughput research organizations to realize the full potential of their digital pathology data. This integration allows scientists and pathologists to automatically stream images from Concentriq into the VIS suite for analysis and push results back into Concentriq, where they can be visualized and incorporated into ongoing studies. Press release

Flagship Pioneering announced the launch of Repertoire Immune Medicines, a clinical-stage biotechnology company tapping the curative powers of our immune system to prevent, treat and cure cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. Repertoire Immune Medicines was formed by combining two Flagship companies – the innovative and proprietary immune decoding platforms of Cogen Immune Medicines and the immuno-oncology platforms of Torque Therapeutics to create a fully integrated Immune Medicines company. At the helm is Chief Executive Officer John Cox. During the last 4 years, these two Flagship Pioneering originated companies each advanced novel and complementary platforms – protected by over 30 patent families. Through their combination, Repertoire Immune Medicines now has the unique capability to decipher human subject-derived antigen-T cell receptor (TCR) codes from healthy or diseased tissues in the context of the major MHC (HLA) types. These complexes dictate T cell activation or exhaustion, and their immunological codes can be used to design and clinically test a multitude of unprecedented therapeutic products based on precedented and specific mechanisms of T cell killing of antigen presenting tumor cells or infected cells. Repertoire has developed a suite of DECODE technologies that allows in-depth characterization of the immune synapse with unprecedented precision. The company leverages its functional response technologies to thoroughly understand the presentation of antigens in disease, de-orphan T cell receptors in the context of single-cell phenotypes, and curate vast amounts of data to enable deep-learning computational prediction models. By coupling single cell technologies with cellular and acellular antigen libraries, the company decodes CD4+ and CD8+ TCR-antigen specificity across selected T cell subsets from patients and from healthy individuals. Press release

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