Equus, Thermo Fisher Scientific, NVIDIA, And More: News From September 2018

September 26, 2018

September 26, 2018 | September featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including Equus, Thermo Fisher Scientific, NVIDIA, and more.

Equus announced the release of its WHITEBOX OPEN M2660 and M2760 servers, part of the Equus portfolio of custom, cost-optimized open-hardware server and storage platforms. Incorporating dual Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs and new open-hardware features, the M2660 and M2760 are multi-node solutions for demanding applications such as content delivery, cloud services, business applications, and virtualization. The M2660 and M2760 servers are ideal for content delivery network providers (CDNs), cloud services providers (CSPs), value-added resellers (VARs), and enterprise IT. The 2U 4Node 12 Bay M2660 server features 12 3.5” hot-swap HDD bays (three per node) and the M2760 is a 2U 4Node with 24 2.5” hot-swap HDD/SDD bays (six per node). Each node supports 16 DIMMs for up to 2TB of memory per node. Each node also features OCP slots that accommodate multi-vendor cards including 1, 10, 40, 50, 100 Gbps Ethernet NICs, and NVMe/SSD storage modules. The M2660 and M2760, like all of the WHITEBOX OPEN server platforms, can be customized to exact end-user specifications. The M2660 and M2760 support all of the WHITEBOX OPEN features, including OpenBMC system management, which is the open-source implementation of the Baseboard Management Controller firmware stack that works across heterogeneous systems and can free companies from proprietary system management vendor lock-in. The M2660 and M2760 also support LinuxBoot to customize the server BIOS for flexibility, improve security, and create a lightning-fast boot experience. The server node’s OCP networking enables it to utilize NC-SI (network controller sideband interface) in-band network management communication, removing the need for a separate IPMI 1GbE management port and the associated dedicated network that in turn generates cost savings, frees rack space, and reduces cabling complexity. Press release

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced its intent to open multiple Global Customer Solution Centers. The new Global Customer Solution Centers will focus on meeting and exceeding the demands of scientists in food, beverage, pharmaceutical and biotech laboratories by developing critical workflows and integrated solutions that help advance chromatography and mass spectrometry worldwide. With the scientific community determined to overcome key challenges such as global food security and the need to develop novel therapeutics faster, each Customer Solution Center will serve as a unique hub for scientists, customers and regulatory bodies to collaborate with Thermo Fisher subject matter experts. By bringing together leading minds and instrumentation, the network of sites will focus on training, support and the development of next-generation workflows and integrated solutions designed to increase productivity, ease-of-use and return on investment for customers. "The announcement of the Global Customer Solution Centers demonstrates our commitment to helping scientists push research and technology to the next level," Jakob Gudbrand, president, chromatography and mass spectrometry, Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a press release. "Our network of sites will create hubs around the globe for scientists, collaborating organizations and regulatory bodies to work together and develop workflows that will make the world healthier, cleaner and safer." The inaugural phase of this new global strategic initiative will be marked by multiple Customer Solution Center openings in locations across the world including India and China, followed by additional centers in the U.S. and Europe. Press release

Thermo Fisher also announced an agreement to launch a new cryo-EM capability for use in the life sciences industry sector with Diamond. The collaboration with Thermo Fisher will further expand Diamond’s cryo-EM offerings by providing two new dedicated microscopes and professional cryo-EM services designed exclusively for the pharmaceutical industry. New instruments being installed include a Thermo Scientific Glacios Cryo Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and a Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM at eBIC. The two organizations will provide cryo-EM guidance and expertise in sample preparation, cryo-EM sample screening, and high-end data collection to industrial researchers. Press release

Neurimmune announced the achievement of a key preclinical milestone in the ongoing collaboration with Ono. In November 2017, the parties entered into a collaboration focused on the development of human-derived antibodies against a novel therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement Neurimmune conducts research to generate and validate human-derived monoclonal antibodies using its proprietary Reverse Translational Medicine (RTM) technology platform. The milestone triggers a pre-agreed milestone payment to Neurimmune. “We highly appreciate a key success in drug discovery of human-derived monoclonal antibodies with Neurimmune’s proprietary platform.”, said Hiromu Habashita, Corporate Officer and Executive Director, Discovery and Research of Ono, in a press release. “We believe this progress will lead to the delivery of a novel and innovative treatment for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.” “We highly value the collaborative nature of our partnership with Ono, a global pioneer of innovative medicines,” Jan Grimm, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Neurimmune, wrote in a statement. “We are excited about the rapid progress within the first year of this collaboration and look forward to advance novel human-derived antibody candidates for CNS indications of high unmet medical need.” Ono will be responsible for worldwide development and marketing of products derived from this collaboration. Neurimmune is eligible to receive research fees, success-based milestones on the research and development progress, as well as royalties on product sales. Press release

NVIDIA unveiled the NVIDIA Clara platform, a combination of hardware and software that brings AI to the next generation of medical instruments as a powerful new tool for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. At the heart of the platform are NVIDIA Clara AGX — a revolutionary computing architecture based on the NVIDIA Xavier AI computing module and NVIDIA Turing GPUs — and the Clara software development kit for developers to create a wide range of AI-powered applications for processing data from existing systems. The Clara platform addresses the great challenge of medical instruments: processing the massive sea of data — tens to thousands of gigabytes worth — generated each second so it can be interpreted by doctors and scientists. Achieving this level of supercomputing has traditionally required three computing architectures: FPGAs, CPUs and GPUs. Press release

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has named Elaine Lyon as director of the HudsonAlpha Clinical Services Lab (CSL). Lyon comes to HudsonAlpha from the University of Utah, where she served as medical director for molecular genetics, genomics and pharmacogenetics at the Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP) Laboratories. At ARUP, she designed and validated laboratory assays for clinical use, including genomic sequencing. During her tenure, Lyon helped established four laboratory sections at ARUP: Molecular Genetics, Fragment Analysis, Genetics Sequencing and Genomics. She also held a faculty position at the University of Utah School of Medicine as professor of pathology. Lyon brings more than 20 years of clinical genomics experience to the institute. Her national and international efforts have promoted appropriate molecular genetic clinical testing. “I’ve been impressed with HudsonAlpha’s commitment to quality in human genomics ever since I learned of their work through the CSER (Clinical Sequencing Evidence-generating Research) program. I am delighted to join their team and work with the Clinical Services Laboratory to provide answers to patients, families and clinicians who have sought these services,” Lyon said in a press release. Press release

DataDirect Networks (DDN) announced that it has completed the acquisition of Tintri for $60 million after an extensive bidding process, which saw DDN declared as the auction winner, followed by court approval and ratification of DDN’s winning bid. DDN’s first order of business is to restart world-class service and support for Tintri’s extensive installed customer base as early as this coming week, to enhance Tintri’s product roadmap with new features to be announced within 90 days, and to staff the Tintri global engineering, support, field technical, sales and marketing teams with 100 planned new hires before year end. “We are very glad to welcome Tintri into our DDN family, and vouch to provide Tintri customers with the best support, products and features possible. The acquisition of Tintri strengthens and expands DDN’s position as a leading storage provider for on premise and hybrid cloud environments,” said Alex Bouzari, co-founder and chief executive officer of DDN, in a press release. “Tintri offers the best analytics with predictive, efficient and intuitive insight for virtualized environments and databases. Combining these capabilities with DDN’s market-winning performance, efficiency and integration at scale for AI, technical computing and the enterprise is incredibly enabling for customers.” Press release

Deloitte and Vineti announced that they have entered into a teaming agreement, announcing their intent to work together to support life sciences innovators by integrating and scaling their respective supply chain and patient engagement platforms to enable more efficient access to next-generation cellular therapies. Vineti's cell and gene therapy platform provides a digital "platform of record" for individualized therapies and Deloitte's ConvergeHEALTH Patient Connect platform streamlines and improves patient and health system engagement at pharmaceutical, medical device and hub vendors. Together, the Vineti and ConvergeHEALTH Patient Connect platforms can offer a holistic one-stop solution to support life sciences innovators and health care professionals with the information systems to deliver on the promise of personalized medicine. In individualized medicine, the patient is a key part of the therapeutic process, the product and the treatment. The combination of Vineti's proven expertise in delivering cell and gene therapies and Deloitte's deep knowledge of the health care ecosystem and its time-tested (or something similar) ConvergeHEALTH Patient Connect platform will help enable life sciences innovators to expand the role of personalized medicines in mainstream health care. Press release

Pall Corporation has announced a strategic partnership between its Pall Biotech business unit and Aetos Biologics, a biosimilar cell line development company. The companies will collaborate to offer biosimilar manufacturing solutions to the global biosimilars market. Pall Biotech will provide access to next generation bioprocess equipment, such as the Allegro STR Single-use Stirred Tank Bioreactor for good manufacturing practices (GMP) manufacturing, and consumables to enable efficient biosimilar production. Aetos Biologics will provide high-quality/high-titer cell lines, and scalable manufacturing processes. "Biosimilars are a replication of a successful biopharmaceutical product. While they are much less expensive than innovator molecules, the complexities in their development make it critical to work with the right equipment and service providers," Mario Philips, VP & General Manager at Pall Biotech, said in a press release. "We are excited to partner with the Aetos Biologics team to advance the market impact of biosimilars and deliver lower priced, high-quality options to end users." "Our team is constantly working to optimize a growing pipeline of high-yield biosimilars with outstanding quality," said Amita Goel, founder and CEO of Aetos Biologics, in an official statement. "Through this strategic partnership with Pall Biotech, we can ensure that the exceptional quality we achieve in scaled-up processes is efficiently transferred and reproduced by the client." By aligning Pall Biotech equipment, including bioreactors, mixing and storage, and downstream technologies with Aetos Biologics' cell lines and manufacturing processes, customers benefit from access to integrated solutions for expedited biosimilars development. Press release

TruTag Technologies announced the extension of its Product Identity platform to include mobile phone authentication of solid oral dosage form tablets. TruTag Technologies manufactures microscopic, edible optical barcodes or “TruTags” that can be applied directly on a product in ink or as part of the film coating process. TruTags allow for instant and unequivocal product authentication for use in identifying supply-chain anomalies such as counterfeits, quality control incidents, and unauthorized product diversion. TruTags are currently authenticated via a proprietary device that forms part of a secure, closed-loop Product Identity platform. TruTag Technologies has now extended its platform to allow for mobile phone authentication. The solution is currently focused on tablet-form drug product but is planned to be extended to other solid oral dosage form products such as capsules. Press release

Sartorius and Penn State University have entered into a collaborative partnership to advance multidisciplinary teaching and research in biotechnology. This long-term relationship will support the education and preparation of the next generation of biotechnology leaders. Part of Sartorius’ investment will be to enhance the Fermentation Facility that will play a significant role in Penn State’s Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology (CoEIB). Sartorius will provide state-of-the-art fermentation technologies, and a central laboratory within the Fermentation Facility will be named the Sartorius Fermentation Gallery. “We are grateful to Sartorius for their commitment to and investment in biotechnology at Penn State,” said O. Richard Bundy III, Penn State’s vice president for development and alumni relations, in a press release. “Sartorius is a global leader in research and manufacturing technologies in the field of biotechnology. Their support will enable Penn State to provide an environment that closely matches what is available in today’s premier research and manufacturing facilities, further elevating the University’s leadership position in this rapidly growing field.” Sartorius views this partnership as an opportunity to create a hub that will promote innovation in biotechnology. “We look forward to bringing together future thought leaders within the new Sartorius Fermentation Gallery,” Reinhard Vogt, member of Executive Committee of Sartorius, wrote in an official statement. “The innovative bioanalytical and bioprocess technologies of Sartorius will enable these scientists to accelerate progress in biotechnology.” Press release

Hesperos announced the receipt of a $4 million three-year NIH Phase IIb Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to increase capacity for its novel human-on-a-chip technology, and prepare its systems for regulatory approval utilizing advanced PKPD modeling capabilities. “Over the last three years we have proven that our systems work, and have formed multiple collaborations with companies seeking to access the next generation of preclinical drug discovery systems. Now the Phase IIb grant will enable us to increase our platform’s capabilities, as well as gain regulatory acceptance of these systems for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, and rare diseases,” James J. Hickman, Hesperos CSO and Professor at the University of Central Florida’s Hybrid Systems Laboratory, said in a press release. Press release

Cidara announced that new data highlighting the company’s innovative Cloudbreak immunotherapy discovery platform will be presented at two upcoming conferences. Cloudbreak is a novel platform that pairs potent antimicrobials with agents that redirect the immune system to destroy fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens. Gram-negative pathogens are responsible for half of all healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and the primary cause of HAIs in intensive care units (ICU). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there were 1.7 million total HAIs in the United States and the estimated number of deaths associated with HAIs was 99,000, costing the U.S. health care system $20 billion per year. Press release

Vyasa Analytics announced it has joined the NVIDIA Inception program, which is designed to nurture startups revolutionizing industries with advancements in AI and data sciences. Vyasa is a deep learning company specializing in the life sciences and healthcare spaces. Vyasa's secure, highly-scalable deep learning software, Cortex, allows users to apply deep learning in specialized ways to large scale data sets like text, images, quantitative data and chemical structures. Cortex can integrate and analyze data for key use cases such as business development, competitive intelligence, EHR analytics, compliance/fraud detection, crystal morphology classification for formulation, drug repurposing and de novo compound design. Press release

HemaCare announced details of their expanded GMP capabilities at the annual CAR-TCR Summit on September 4-7, 2018. HemaCare will be relocating its operations and corporate headquarters to a larger, state-of-the-art facility with four GMP cleanrooms for expansion of GMP-compliant cells, tissues, and services. This new center of excellence will make HemaCare the first commercial provider of GMP human primary cells isolated from leukopaks collected onsite. These services will support the research, scientific, and clinical community by providing high-quality GMP cells in a reproducible manner which comply with both FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulations. HemaCare’s GMP-compliant clean rooms will allow the following services to be performed onsite: collection, processing and isolation of GMP raw material and cells, processing of autologous patient material, and GMP-compliant cryopreservation and storage at the new biobanking facility. Flexible production environments and optimized process flow will enable HemaCare to address customers’ increasingly complex requirements and provide sufficient scalability to support their global customer base. GMP apheresis collection starting material from HemaCare’s extensive registry of recallable, reliable donors can be cryopreserved and shipped as needed for allogeneic cell therapy manufacturing allowing HemaCare to expand upon its recently launched unique cryopreserved leukopak offering. Press release