March News and Product Briefs

March 31, 2016

News Briefs

Emulate secured a $28.75 million Series B financing to support the launch of new products based on the company’s Organs-on-Chips technology. Proceeds of the financing will be used to advance the development of products including the Human Emulation System, an automated product suite that includes Organ-Chips, instrumentation hardware, and software applications; new Organ-Chips such as kidney, heart, and brain; and disease-state applications of Organ-Chips, providing models of neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, intestinal diseases and the microbiome, and infectious diseases. (For more on Emulate’s technology, see “With Johnson and Johnson, Harvard Spinoff Emulate Unveils New Organs-on-Chips.”) Press release

10X Genomics closed a $55 million Series C financing. The financing round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and included additional new investors Softbank and JS Capital Management LLC. The Series C financing will be used to support marketing and sales of the GemCode and recently introduced Chromium products. (For more on these instruments, see “10X Genomics Reveals Upgraded Platform with New Features for Single-Cell RNA Sequencing.”) Press release

Huawei and WuXi AppTec announced the signing of a strategic framework agreement to support the China Precision Medicine Initiative (China PMI) through the creation of a precision medicine cloud platform. The agreement builds on Huawei’s capabilities in cloud infrastructure, combined with the genomics and precision medicine platforms of WuXi NextCODE, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec. The partners will follow the guidance of the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and work with third-party cloud providers to develop the data standards and exchange framework required to deliver the China PMI. (For more on WuXi population-scale genomics projects, see “WuXi NextCODE to Interpret Cancer Samples for UK 100,000 Genomes Project.”) Press release

Cambridge Epigenetix closed a $21 million Series B financing and appointed Dr. Geoff Smith as CEO. The round was led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with significant participation from Sequoia Capital. Prof. Shankar Balasubramanian, co-founder of Cambridge Epigenetix, previously co-founded Solexa to develop the sequencing-by-synthesis technology is now the basis for Illumina’s next-generation sequencing devices. Press release

Sophia Genetics announced that eight Turkish hospitals have adopted Sophia DDM, a clinical genomics community platform. Sophia Genetics will provide these hospitals with analytics solutions to diagnose patients of some cancers and inherited conditions. With these new partnerships, Sophia is now supporting 50% of all next-generation sequencing-equipped hospitals in Turkey. Press release

BC Platforms will collaborate with Microsoft to use the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and services for integrated genomic data management solutions in healthcare. Microsoft and BC Platforms will build the first proof of concept case with Helsinki University Hospital this year. Press release

New Products

PerkinElmer launched the LabChip NGS 3K assay for genomics research. Using PerkinElmer’s LabChip platform and the NGS 3K assay, researchers will be able to quantitate DNA using very small concentrations of sample, which is especially important for rare or precious sample types where repeat sequencing is not an option. In addition, they can share their data and results with their colleagues via cloud technology. Product page

Embark Veterinary launched in partnership with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, offering a canine DNA test. The Embark Dog DNA Test tracks over 200,000 genetic markers, offering ancestry analysis as well as an overview of genetic disease risk and heritable traits. Press release (PDF)

908 Devices announced the launch of ZipChip, a microfluidics system that provides separation capabilities as a front-end for mass spectrometry (MS). ZipChip can be used for small molecules, or for large intact proteins from a range of biofluids and matrices such as blood, urine, plasma, cell lysates, growth media and biotherapeutic products. The system integrates on-board sample preparation, capillary electrophoresis and electrospray ionization into one device to prepare, separate and electrospray biological samples directly into a mass spectrometer. Press release

Genestack is making new tools for agri-genomics available on its platform for early adopters as part of a project with Rothamsted Research. The new tools available will allow users of the Genestack Platform to mine public domain data to link traits to gene function, and ultimately to understand complex crop traits such as yield, nutritional quality, and tolerance against diseases or drought. (The GeneStack Platform is a contender for the Bio-IT World Best of Show Awards at next week’s Bio-IT World Conference & Expo.) Press release

Figshare, an online digital repository for academic research, launched Collections, which offers the research community, including publishers and funders, a “Pinterest” for academic research outputs. It enables users to gather any data types on Figshare including video, posters and code, whether public or private. With Collections, publishers are able group all supplementary data around a particular article, institutions can bring together all data and outputs around a topic, and researchers can create personal Collections for all work related to a research area. Announcement

Cambridge Semantics announced the launch of its Anzo Graph Query Engine and Anzo Smart Data Manager products, available as stand-alone products or integrated within the Anzo Smart Data Lake. The Anzo Graph Query Engine is a clustered, in-memory graph analytics engine based on open semantic standards that lets users develop ad hoc and interactive queries across large data sets. The Anzo Smart Data Manager allows organizations to create and maintain a single repository of data assets with contextualized information, for data extractions and transformations without the need for a programmer or programming environment. Press release

Optibrium released version 6.3 of the StarDrop platform. The release introduces a new module for structure-based design technologies, based on BioSolveIT’s SeeSAR package. Users can import ligand and protein structures, derived from crystal structures or predicted with any docking software, and visualize interactions that drive potency. StarDrop 6.3 also includes new capabilities in chemical sub-structure searching, an interactive designer for StarDrop’s Card View, and updates to both the Derek Nexus module for toxicity prediction and the BIOSTER database of precedented chemistry transformations. Press release (PDF)

IDBS unveiled E-WorkBook Inventory, a new module for E-WorkBook designed for lab inventory management. The module lets users register and search lab equipment, materials and samples and manage storage locations. Researchers can automatically capture inventory details within experiments by scanning a barcode, and the system creates and captures usage logs. (An additional module, E-WorkBook Connect, is a contender for the Bio-IT World Best of Show Awards at next week’s Bio-IT World Conference & Expo.)  Press release

GenomeDx Biosciences announced the launch of Decipher Biopsy, a genomic test that evaluates RNA expression-based biomarkers to predict the risk of high-grade disease, metastasis and cancer-specific death in men with prostate cancer. The launch brings the Decipher Prostate Cancer Classifier, already clinically adopted for applications following surgery, to newly diagnosed patients at initial biopsy. Press release