February News and Product Briefs

March 1, 2016

News Briefs

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Seven Bridges announced their joint development of Cavatica, a new cloud-based environment for storing, sharing and analyzing large volumes of pediatric cancer genomics data. Cavatica will support CHOP’s participation in the White House Precision Medicine Initiative, and provide data sharing and large-volume genomic analyses for the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium. (For more on Seven Bridges’ cloud-based analysis platforms, see, “Seven Bridges Unveils Cancer Genomics Cloud, Takes on Private Funding.”) Press release

TransCelerate BioPharma is launching BioCelerate, a new subsidiary that aims to improve efficiencies in preclinical research. The six initial biopharmaceutical companies committed to launching BioCelerate include Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, and Shionogi & Co. BioCelerate’s first initiative, Toxicology Data Sharing, will enable access to a broader cross-company set of toxicology data, to study the relationship between patient response and preclinical toxicology findings. (For more on TransCelerate, see, “New Pharma Collaboration Focuses on Clinical Standards.”) Press release

Emulate opened its new headquarters and laboratories in Boston’s Seaport District, at 27 Drydock Avenue within the Innovation and Design Building. The new facility will be a workplace for the company’s 40 employees, with plans for expansion to 85 employees within the coming year. Emulate will use the expanded space to move toward industry launch of its proprietary Organ-Chips within an automated Human Emulation System. (For more on Emulate’s platforms, see, “With Johnson and Johnson, Harvard Spinoff Emulate Unveils New Organs-on-Chips.”) Press release

Curoverse announced that the open source, multi-platform Arvados system is now available on Microsoft Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for managing and processing genomic and health data at petabyte scale. The Arvados platform is being adopted by genomic sequencing centers in the US, Europe, and Asia to meet the big data management and processing issues created by next generation sequencing, as well as the analysis of related data such as RNA, microbiome, and imaging. Curoverse is also collaborating with Microsoft to develop new genomic pipeline benchmarking tools that will be available on Azure. (For more on Curoverse, see, “Arvados Project Looks to New Models of Genomic Data Management.”) Press release

BC Platforms signed a contract with Nexus Personalized Health Technologies, to create a joint, translational research-driven offering connecting genetic and clinical information. Nexus provides services to biomedical researchers in bioinformatic and biostatistical data analysis, and will facilitate data integration with hospitals generating clinical data. Press release

Mass Innovation Labs announced the arrival of two new member companies, C4 Therapeutics and Gritstone Oncology, into their 124,000 square foot lab space in Kendall Square. C4 Therapeutics is developing a new class of targeted protein degradation therapeutics, while Gritstone Oncology is working to develop next-generation personalized cancer therapeutics. Both companies joined through Mass Innovation Labs’ Jumpstart program, which provides support for setup, workflow, biosafety and other operational programs. Press release

Synlogic, a company developing medicines based on a proprietary synthetic biology and microbiome platform, closed a Series B investment round with $40 million in additional financing led by OrbiMed HealthCare Fund Management, bringing the total investment in its combined Series A and B financing to $70 million. In addition to OrbiMed, Deerfield Management Company and founding investors Atlas Venture and New Enterprise Associates also participated in the financing. (For more on Synlogic, see, “AbbVie Invests in Synthetic Microbes for Treatment of Intestinal Disorders.”) Press release

Saphetor completed a CHF 1.2 million (~$1.2 million) seed financing round from a group of undisclosed investors. Saphetor develops software and analytical processes to identify genetic variants with greater accuracy and give its clients access to integrated data from a growing collection of genetic databases. To date, Saphetor has aggregated 20 leading databases, representing more than 10 billion genetic variant annotations. Press release

Repositive secured £500,000 (~$700,000) of additional seed funding, as it prepares to launch an enterprise product as part of their global hub for genomic data access. The funding came from Amadeus Capital, Seedcamp, ClearlySo and Cambridge Angels. With the additional seed funding, Repositive will scale up both user capacity and professional services on the Repositive platform, before starting a Series A round later this year. New features will include premium services both for enterprise and non-enterprise users supporting time-saving workflows and improved tools for assessing data quality and availability from both public and private data providers. Press release

Quanterix announced an alliance with Frontage Laboratories, becoming a preferred partner for assay research and development. Frontage, a CRO assisting biopharmaceutical organizations in research and product development, will use Quanterix’s Simoa instrument to create automated assays at high sensitivity. (For more on the Simoa, see, “Quanterix Prepares for Expansion with Upgraded Single Molecule Analysis Machine.”) Press release

New Products

Sophia Genetics, through a partnership with Swift Biosciences, launched a combined solution for molecular diagnostics in Europe, combining sampling processing with data analysis. With this new combined solution, Sophia offers hospitals and labs clinical genomics analysis through Sophia DDM, while Accel-Amplicon Panels from Swift Biosciences deliver a complete sample prep solution in a single kit. The first combined solution will be the Accel-Amplicon 56G Oncology Panel, which provides analysis across 56 cancer-related genes, using 10 ng of input from either FFPE or liquid biopsy samples. Several new custom amplicon panels will be made available for Sophia Genetics’ Sophia DDM platform through 2016. Press release

One Codex added a new, whole genome clustering feature to its software platform for species identification in mixed microbial samples. One Codex now supports arbitrary, interactive exploration and clustering of isolates and metagenomic samples. The cluster view enables reference-free exploration and comparison of NGS samples. The company also announced an integration with Illumina’s BaseSpace, allowing users to directly import data already in BaseSpace into One Codex. (For more on One Codex, see, “One Codex and Microbiology’s Search Problem.”) Announcement

Golden Helix announced the upcoming release of VSWarehouse, a software solution for genetic data warehousing. Coming in March, VSWarehouse is a scalable, multi-project warehouse for NGS variant call sets, clinical reports and catalogues of variant assessments. Clinicians and researchers will be able to use the data that is created on a day-to-day basis as a reference point, as well as be alerted of new research. Press release

HexaTier launched HexaTier 4.0, a unified database security and compliance solution for cloud-hosted databases and Database as a Service (DBaaS) platforms. New features in V4.0 include the ability to apply Active Directory (AD) individual and group policies for cloud computing; Dynamic Data Masking with Conditional definitions to control exposure of sensitive information in real time to authorized IT personnel; and enhanced SQL injection detection and prevention mechanism at the Database layer. Press release