UberCloud, The Wellcome Sanger Institute, Panasas, And More: News From November 2018

November 28, 2018

November 28, 2018 | November featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including UberCloud, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Panasas, and more.

TheUberCloud announced the availability of UberCloud consulting services in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. UberCloud customers can now take advantage of the scalability, high availability, and security of Azure, with streamlined deployment and management. “UberCloud’s HPC software containers provide engineers with seamless and immediate access to the cloud,” said Wolfgang Gentzsch, President of TheUberCloud, in a press release . “UberCloud’s new Cloud HPC consultation offerings on Microsoft Azure Marketplace will show engineers how easily they can benefit from the cloud to accelerate their simulations and increase their productivity.” The Azure Marketplace is an online market for buying and selling finished Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and premium datasets. The Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative, cloud-based solutions with partners who have developed solutions that are ready to use. UberCloud’s mission is to make high-performance computing (HPC) a reality for every engineer. UberCloud’s HPC software containers enable companies of all sizes to quickly adopt Azure for a world-class high-performance cloud computing solution, making it easy for engineers to use the cloud so they can achieve the benefits of HPC without any of the shortcomings. Press release

The genetic codes of 66,000 species in the UK are planned to be sequenced by the Wellcome Sanger Institute and its collaborators as part of a global effort to sequence the genomes of all 1.5 million known species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi on Earth. The UK effort, known as the Darwin Tree of Life Project, officially launched November 1 in London alongside the global effort, the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP). The launch is marked by a gathering of key scientific partners and funders from around the globe to discuss progress in organizing and funding the project. The EBP will ultimately create a new foundation for biology to drive solutions for preserving biodiversity and sustaining human societies. A greater understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and the responsible stewarding of its resources are among the most crucial scientific and social challenges of the new millennium. The overcoming of these challenges requires new scientific knowledge of evolution and interactions among millions of the planet’s organisms. The Sanger Institute will serve as the genomics hub in the UK and will collaborate with the Natural History Museum in London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Earlham Institute, Edinburgh Genomics, University of Edinburgh, EMBL-EBI, and others in sample collection, DNA sequencing, assembling, and annotating genomes and storing the data. Further, the Sanger Institute will coordinate with other groups contributing to the EBP, such as the G10K Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP) and the 10,000 Genomes Plant Project, to ensure there is no redundancy of effort, and that each project contributes to the other. The Darwin Tree of Life project is estimated to cost approximately £100 million ($128,000,000) over the first five years, and the sequencing of 66,000 species’ genomes will take around 10 years. Press release

Synthego  and Eurofins Genomics announced a groundbreaking partnership. Through this agreement, Eurofins will distribute Synthego's synthetic single guide RNA (sgRNA) to their global customer database across 44 countries. CRISPR technology is being adopted by labs worldwide. However, researchers still spend a considerable amount of time and effort achieving the desired editing efficiencies in their CRISPR experiments. Synthego aims to minimize the optimization time through their revolutionary CRISPR product portfolio, thus allowing genome engineers to focus on their research. Synthego's industry-best, chemically modified and unmodified sgRNAs deliver unparalleled editing efficiencies of up to 97%, allowing superior editing in virtually any cell type. Eurofins Genomics is part of the Eurofins Scientific Group (SE), the world leader in food, pharma and environmental laboratory testing, as well as a market leader in agroscience, genomics and product testing services. Eurofins Genomics is known globally for its innovative technologies in the life sciences arena including academic institutions, biotech companies and the pharmaceutical industry. Eurofins Genomics and Synthego are ideal business partners given their unmatched flexibility for any kind of genomic research and applications of CRISPR. A combined understanding of their customers' challenges with CRISPR was the basis for the cooperation between the two life sciences leaders, and aligned interests and values in offering best in class solutions make the Eurofins-Synthego partnership all the more powerful. Press release

F1 Oncology announced that its international affiliate, EXUMA Biotechnology Hong Kong, has formed Shanghai EXUMA Biotechnology, a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE), to acquire all rights to novel chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy and manufacturing assets in Shanghai and Shenzhen for the development and commercialization of cellular therapies in Greater China to be used in the treatment of solid tumor malignancies. Shanghai EXUMA will develop these clinical programs into multicenter trials under a centralized regulatory pathway based on the results of investigator-initiated trials (IITs) of CAR-T therapies for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and other solid tumor malignancies.  Shanghai EXUMA will be expanding its CAR-T cell processing capabilities at its new facility in the Shanghai International Medical Zone within Zhangjiang Innopark in Shanghai's Pudong district and its viral manufacturing capabilities at its newly constructed Shenzhen facility. “The treatment of cancer is advancing at unprecedented speed, and we are pleased to be playing a role in this rapid and positive evolution, of which the formation of Shanghai EXUMA Biotechnology is an important component,” said Gregory Frost, Chairman and CEO of F1 Oncology, in a press release. “The decision to integrate these programs and processes into EXUMA was driven by the favorable early clinical profile, and we are excited to support their advancement toward multicenter trials next year. By turning a hostile tumor microenvironment (TME) into an activating signal for CAR-T cells, this platform could open the therapeutic window of CAR-T to many solid tumors.” EXUMA Biotech integrates BioAtla's conditionally active biologic (CAB) protein therapeutic technology with F1 Oncology's proprietary CAR-T technologies to develop and commercialize CAB-CAR-T therapies and other ACTs for the treatment of solid tumor malignancies. CAB-CAR-T cellular therapies are designed to be conditionally active only in the TME and may therefore help reduce potential adverse events associated with on-target, off-tumor effects of CAR-T therapies in solid tumors. While BioAtla's option to purchase F1 Oncology expired in May 2018, F1 Oncology retains an exclusive global license to discover and develop CAB-based ACTs. Press release

Citus Data announced that Citus Cloud, its fully-managed database as a service, can be used to manage protected health information (PHI), and to build HIPAA-compliant applications on top of Postgres. This means that customers who process, maintain, and store PHI data can now build applications on top of the Citus Cloud database as a service, confident they will meet healthcare compliance requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As part of Citus Cloud’s HIPAA support, customers can now execute a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Citus Data. In addition, Citus Data is announcing that its Citus Cloud database as a service has achieved a SOC 2 Type 2 report. The Citus Cloud database as a service is audited at least annually against the SOC reporting framework by an independent third-party auditor—and achieved the SOC 2 Type 2 report earlier in 2018. The SOC 2 Type 2 compliance audit covers controls for Security, Availability, and Confidentiality. Now, enterprises and SaaS businesses who need the performance and scale of a distributed Postgres database can use the Citus Cloud database as a service with increased confidence in the Citus Cloud team’s security practices. “By enabling developers to build HIPAA-compliant applications on top of Postgres, and by achieving our SOC 2 Type 2 report, we’ve validated that the Citus Cloud database as a service is a trusted solution for working with even the most sensitive personal data,” said Citus Data VP of Marketing Claire Giordano, in a press release. “Regardless of sector or size of organization, we give our Citus Cloud customers a way to grow their applications without worrying about how to scale their database. We are pleased to announce we are bringing this same peace of mind to healthcare and to applications where compliance matters.” Press release

Panasas announced ActiveStor Ultra, the next generation of its high-performance computing (HPC) storage solution, featuring PanFS 8, the industry’s only plug-and-play, portable, parallel filesystem. ActiveStor Ultra expands Panasas’ leadership position in the HPC market by delivering up to 75 GB/s per rack on industry-standard commodity hardware as well as enterprise-grade reliability and manageability, all at the most competitive price point. ActiveStor Ultra is delivered as a fully integrated plug-and-play appliance running PanFS 8 on industry-standard hardware. PanFS 8 is the completely re-engineered Panasas parallel filesystem, designed to deliver the highest performance and reliability on properly configured and qualified storage hardware platforms. PanFS 8 now runs on Linux and features intelligent data placement across three tiers of media - metadata on non-volatile memory express (NVMe), small files on SSDs and large files on HDDs - resulting in optimized performance for all data types. “Panasas has achieved a re-set with its ActiveStor Ultra platform, which is designed to deliver the highest levels of HPC performance while offering the plug-and-play simplicity, reliability and low total-cost-of-ownership that customers have come to expect,” said Steve Conway, senior research vice president at Hyperion Research, in a press release. “Panasas reports that the new PanFS 8 portable parallel filesystem will be available at highly competitive price points. It could be a potential game-changer for the company and have a strong impact on the HPC storage industry in general.” Designed for extreme performance, linear scalability and high reliability, ActiveStor Ultra is ideally suited to support the complex and varied data sets associated with traditional HPC workloads and emerging applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), precision medicine, autonomous driving and virtual reality (VR). ActiveStor Ultra’s modular architecture and building-block design enables enterprises to start small and scale linearly. With dock-to-data in one hour, ActiveStor Ultra delivers the industry’s fastest time to first data access and virtually eliminates manual intervention to deliver the lowest total-cost-of-ownership (TCO). Press release

Stilla Technologies announced the successful completion of a Series A financing round of 16 million euros ($18 Million) led by Illumina Ventures, with participation from Kurma Partners, LBO France, BNP Paribas Développement, Paris Saclay Seeds and Idinvest Partners. As part of the financing, Nick Naclerio (Illumina Ventures), Philippe Peltier (Kurma Partners), and Philippe Chambon (LBO France) have joined the board of directors, replacing the seed investors. Since 2016, Stilla Technologies has been providing research organizations specialized in molecular biology and genetic analysis with its Naica System, a ground-breaking digital PCR solution that enables scientists to detect and quantify DNA mutations with unrivalled precision. "With our Naica System, researchers worldwide are building a new generation of high-precision genetic tests for a wide variety of applications such as liquid biopsy tests for cancer diagnostics, pre-natal testing or GMO detection," said Rémi Dangla, CEO and co-founder of Stilla Technologies, in a press release. "This additional financing will enable Stilla to accelerate the sales of the Naica System, launch our 2nd generation solution and begin clinically validating panels to be run on the system, with an initial focus in the field of oncology." Press release

Rheonix announced the launch of its NGS OnePrep solution, an integrated, automated method for DNA extraction and next-generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation on the Encompass Optimum workstation. The method will allow laboratory technicians to produce sequence-ready libraries directly from raw samples with significantly reduced hands-on time compared with current methods. The NGS OnePrep solution streamlines the separate and distinct processes of nucleic acid extraction and NGS library preparation on a single instrument. Existing methods are typically highly manual or require multiple instruments to automate DNA extraction and library preparation. Even “automated” methods for library preparation have disjointed, manual steps. Utilizing the Encompass Optimum workstation, sequence-ready libraries can be produced directly from the sample in just four and a half hours and yield NGS sequence data and quality metrics indistinguishable from the more labor-intensive methods often employed by laboratory facilities. The NGS OnePrep solution offers the following benefits: significantly reduced hands-on time and total time-to-results; ability to process up to 24 samples in four and a half hours; reduced intra- and inter-batch variability of NGS libraries; and reduced lab footprint and capital equipment cost. Press release

Vineti and Quick have partnered to help biopharma innovators in supporting systems and supply chains by releasing a new tip sheet focused on industry-proven best practices. Covering everything from cell and gene therapy's (CGT) need for continuous collaboration to appropriate packaging and transportation routing strategies, Cell and Gene Therapies: Eight Tips to Strengthen Your Supply Chain from Vineti and Quick offers valuable advice from industry veterans who were among the first to provide operations, logistics, and supply chain support for personalized medicine therapies. Together, the authors of the tip sheet have more than 35 years of combined industry experience that can help support this rapidly developing field. "Vineti's expert team is asked to advise the cell and gene therapy industry every day, and we're always happy to help," Amy DuRoss, CEO and co-founder of Vineti, said in a press release. "The deeply experienced team at Quick has also done pioneering work in cell and gene therapy, and we know from our shared integrations that Quick's leadership helps keep the industry moving. We've very pleased to have this chance to partner with Quick to share some of our collective knowledge." Vineti and Quick work together in a variety of ways to offer robust integrated logistics and supply chain solutions to biopharmaceutical partners. Both companies have significant experience supporting both clinical and commercial-phase therapies, and the Quick-Vineti integration can help therapies scale at any phase. Press release

1CellBio announced a partnership agreement with the Open Medicine Institute (OMI). Researchers at OMI will apply and validate 1CellBio’s inDrop System as part of a clinical research project to investigate the potential for single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology in precision medicine applications. The collaboration will initially focus on generating predictive data for patients with an undiagnosed immune dysfunction condition. Researchers at OMI will look to identify putative biomarkers and demonstrate how an integrated omics approach can improve sensitivity, accuracy and specificity of complex immune illness diagnosis, and potentially guide therapeutic decision making. The study will also use machine learning and additional big data analysis techniques to identify clinically relevant patterns of gene expression in single cells, as well as relationships between disparate-omic data types and single-cell expression patterns. Following the pilot project, the two organizations will explore a clinical laboratory developed test assay service that will be offered by the OMI CLIA laboratory. “The 1CellBio inDrop System has shown to be a highly flexible, high-throughput scRNA-seq platform that provides enhanced experimental control and more actionable information compared to other existing platforms,” said Andreas Kogelnik, founder of the Open Medicine Institute, in a press release. “This collaboration adds another dimension to our large-scale multi-omics data integration and clinical application practice, especially for the large number of our patients with undiagnosed immune dysfunction and inflammatory conditions, as well as other areas.” Press release

Reltio announced its newest release, version 2018.3 of Reltio Cloud that introduces the industry's first Data Quality Confidence Indicator for business users and includes enhancements for data connectivity and self-service that improve IT productivity. Reltio Data Quality Confidence Indicators are continuously calculated for all profiles in Reltio Cloud and presented to the user as actionable metrics. For the first time ever, business users have a consistent way of quantifying data quality for reliability and business value. Reltio CEO, Manish Sood said in a press release: "Data organized in Reltio Cloud is now the only data available to business users with a confidence indicator. Enterprises need quantitative metrics to gauge data quality, and we're proud to be the first to bring those to market, along with updates for scalability, connectivity, security and more. We believe these advances offer significant opportunities for many data-driven business initiatives. In fact, our customers are telling their teams that they must "Reltio" data before trusting it enough for real-time operational customer 360 views, analytics, machine learning, and for meeting data privacy and compliance regulations." Reltio's new data quality and ranking capability is also valuable for data stewards since it automatically prioritizes work by identifying data that is high in business value but low in quality. Data stewards can now focus their time and efforts for the greatest business impact, increasing productivity, aligned to business value. Press release

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced funding of more than 200 new awards, totaling over $220 million, through the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, an exciting trans-agency effort to arm researchers with revolutionary tools to fundamentally understand the neural circuits that underlie the healthy and diseased brain. Supported by the Congress through both the regular appropriations process and the 21st Century Cures Act, this brings the total 2018 support for the program to more than $400 million, which is 50 percent more than the amount spent last year. Many of the new awards explore the human brain directly. Furthermore, the NIH is trying to leverage some BRAIN Initiative advances to help tackle the pain and opioid crisis. “Brain diseases are some of the greatest mysteries in modern medicine. These projects will provide new tools and knowledge needed to discover answers for some of the most difficult neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins in a press release. Examples of these new awards include the creation of a wireless optical tomography cap for scanning human brain activity; the development of a noninvasive brain-computer interface system for improving the lives of paralysis patients; and the testing of noninvasive brain stimulation devices for treating schizophrenia, attention deficit disorders, and other brain diseases. All these awards can be found on the new NIH BRAIN Initiative website. Through this expanded program, more than 100 research institutions received awards to support the projects of  upwards of 500 investigators representing fields as diverse as engineering and psychology. Many of the awards fund the development of new tools and technologies to capture a dynamic view of brain circuits in action, including the development of self-growing biological electrodes for recording brain activity and the creation of an indestructible hydrogel system to help map neural circuits. Press release

Model N announced the general availability of its new Revenue Execution Cloud. This latest release empowers Chief Revenue Officers, Market Access Leaders, and Channel Chiefs to create more efficient sales organizations, more sophisticated channel incentive programs, and to deliver increased insights and intelligence on their revenue-driving programs and activities. Combined, these innovations allow Model N customers to increase top-line revenue, improve margins, and respond to market demand more quickly. Model N life sciences customers will benefit in key areas of their revenue strategy, execution and risk management processes with Model N Revenue Execution Cloud for Pharma and Revenue Execution Cloud for MedTech. Press release