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Benchling, BERG, Thermo Fisher Scientific, And More: News From May 2020



May 27, 2020 | May featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including Benchling, BERG, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and more.

Benchling announced the launch of Benchling Insights, a new solution that gives life sciences companies the ability to query, visualize and collaborate around high quality, structured data that resides on the platform. “While the biotech industry continues to grow, companies are faced with increased competition, patent expirations and increased scrutiny over pricing and efficacy. Biotech companies are under immense pressure to deliver new products into clinical evaluation faster than ever, which requires disciplined execution, a high degree of collaboration and unfettered access to data across the R&D lifecycle,” said Saji Wickramasekara, CEO and Co-Founder of Benchling, in a press release. “We launched Benchling Insights so that our customers can make intelligent decisions with a complete view of their experimental and operational data. Analyses and dashboards can be rapidly created and shared across programs, teams, and leadership so companies can reach breakthroughs faster.” Benchling Insights extends the Benchling Life Sciences R&D Cloud with an integrated solution for data querying, visualization, and collaboration. Scientists can tailor advanced queries to visualize scientific and operational metrics, and use these to quickly answer key questions about their programs. For example, they can assess which cell lines generate the best assay performance, or which process variants lead to optimal outputs. R&D leaders can use centralized data to track overall pipeline performance and remove operational bottlenecks, while IT leaders can track product utilization and compliance. Press release

BERG announced a new collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim around understanding the multifaceted nature of the spectrum of inflammatory diseases and seeks to unravel the associated biological drivers. The pilot program with Boehringer Ingelheim will work to reveal novel insights into the complexities of various inflammatory diseases. The potential outcomes of this partnership could lead to a broader understanding of the etiology of potential candidate biomarkers. BERG has previously collaborated with multiple pharmaceutical companies and applied its Interrogative Biology platform to diverse datasets to address major clinical unmet needs. “We’re excited to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim, which will combine Boehringer Ingelheim's translational medicine and biomarker expertise with BERG’s next generation AI-driven, patient-biology capability,” Niven R. Narain, BERG Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, said in a press release. “Our intent is for BERG’s Interrogative Biology platform to enable the discovery of biomarkers that will revolutionize how to diagnose and treat patients with inflammatory diseases.” Press release

Thermo Fisher Scientific released the Thermo Scientific Helios 5 Laser PFIB system, an advanced focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) with a fully integrated femtosecond laser that quickly characterizes millimeter-scale volumes of material in 3D with nanometer resolution. The Helios 5 Laser PFIB combines the best-in-class Thermo Scientific Elstar SEM Column for ultra-high-resolution imaging and advanced analytical capabilities with a plasma FIB column for top performance at all operating conditions, and a femtosecond laser that enables in-situ ablation at material removal rates not previously obtained by a commercially available product. The Helios 5 Laser PFIB is part of the fifth generation of the industry-leading Helios family. “The Helios 5 Laser PFIB dramatically accelerates the pace of research for both academic and industrial users, allowing them to characterize materials in a matter of minutes versus the days it took before,” Rosy Lee, vice president of materials science at Thermo Fisher, said in a press release. “Not only can researchers quickly and accurately image statistically relevant, site-specific, millimeter-size cross-sections at nanoscale resolution, they can also set up large-volume 3D analyses to be automatically completed overnight, freeing up the microscope for other uses.” The Helios 5 Laser PFIB allows researchers to obtain accurate large-volume 3D and sub-surface data up to 15,000 times faster than a typical Gallium ion source focused ion beam (Ga-FIB). For many materials, a large cross-section of hundreds of microns can be milled by the Helios 5 Laser PFIB in less than 5 minutes. Serial-section tomography is now possible with this combination of Laser and Plasma FIB, and when combined with EDS and EBSD detectors, can be extended to 3D elemental and grain orientation analysis at the millimeter scale. Press release

Following the recent launch of NVIDIA’s new DGX A100 system, NetApp ONTAP AI announced it will be among the first converged AI stacks to incorporate the DGX A100 and NVIDIA Mellanox networking. “NetApp and NVIDIA have been collaborating for several years to deliver AI solutions that help enterprises accelerate AI adoption. Both companies are working on eliminating AI bottlenecks and advancing the realm of possibilities,” Kim Stevenson, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Foundational Data Services Business Unit, NetApp, said in an official statement. “NetApp’s full stack AI/ML/DL platforms delivered at the edge, core and cloud with ONTAP AI complements NVIDIA’s rapidly expanding ecosystem of AI hardware, software, and development toolkits.” Blog post

Advanced Biological Laboratories (ABL) announced the CE-IVD marking of its DeepChek-HIV Assays is now available for in-vitro diagnostics. Intended to be used on HIV-1 Group M viruses from patients diagnosed with HIV infection, the assays deliver standardized, open and flexible solution suited to clinical settings performing sequencing through Capillary Electrophoresis and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) systems. The DeepChek-HIV CE IVD Assays are covering respectively the Protease / Reverse Transcriptase and the Integrase regions of the virus and are intended to be used from input RNA extracted from plasma, serum or whole blood samples. Both assays are highly sensitive and have been validated to process clinical samples as low as 1,000 copies/mL with outstanding performances (100% agreement of analytical reproducibility and repeatability, 100% clinical reproducibility, 99% clinical sensitivity) in all three regions. Open and flexible, the DeepChek-HIV CE IVD Assays is a unique and versatile system that can be used under a large variety of laboratory throughput configurations. “Obtaining CE IVD marking for our DeepChek-HIV assays will allow virology labs to access a unique and innovative technology, for HIV genotyping diagnostics. ABL will keep standardizing its entire portfolio of applications in virology and microbiology following European and International guidelines to improve the management of patients suffering from chronic diseases on a worldwide basis,” Chalom Sayada, CEO of ABL, said in an official statement. Press release

Cardinal Health and Vineti announced a collaboration to support cell and gene therapy manufacturers with a fully integrated solution that aligns logistics and commercialization services with digital Chain of Identity and Chain of Custody throughout the treatment journey. Cardinal Health supports the cell and gene therapy market with a robust suite of services that includes end-to-end logistics, regulatory strategy, order-to-cash management and patient access and support services. Vineti offers a digital platform of record to integrate logistics, manufacturing and clinical data for cell and gene therapies. The Vineti platform delivers digital Chain of Identity and Chain of Custody, providing essential patient safety and regulatory compliance across the value chain. Together, Cardinal Health and Vineti will develop best-in-class solutions to support the distribution of transformative, personalized therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. Specifically, Cardinal Health and Vineti will focus on integrated solutions that enable cell and gene therapy manufacturers to accelerate the commercialization of their products, while delivering a more simple, seamless and secure experience to hospitals and patients, from initial patient enrollment through delivery of the final dose of therapy and beyond. Press release

Immunai launched out of stealth to map the entire immune system for better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Leveraging single-cell technologies and machine learning algorithms, Immunai has mapped out millions of immune cells and their functions, building the largest proprietary data set in the world for clinical immunological data. The company is also announcing $20M in seed funding, which will be used to further the development of its technology and business functions while expanding its team of scientists, engineers, and machine learning experts. Cell therapies and cancer immunotherapies have revolutionized medicine in the last few years and are expected to continue for the near future. However, due to the incredible complexity of the immune system—its trillions of cells partitioned into hundreds of cell types and states and how they interplay with other cells and proteins—it is prohibitively hard to predict how drugs will affect immune cells. For cell therapies with high manufacturing costs, a slight variation in cell therapy products can have a significant influence on a patient’s response to the therapy. Immunai has developed a vertically-integrated platform for multi-omic single-cell profiling that offers a broader view of the immune system in states of health, disease, and treatment to examine the body’s response to stimulus. With Immunai’s platform, pharmaceutical companies can identify more subtle nuances in cell abundances and cell function and mechanisms of action and biomarkers for toxicity response to accurately measure the efficacy of immunotherapies. For cell therapies, in particular, Immunai partners with cell therapy companies to understand cellular products’ sub-populations in unprecedented detail before and after infusion. Press release

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