ACD/Labs, Genomenon, Accenture, And More: News From May 2019

May 30, 2019

May 30, 2019 | May featured exciting new, products, and partnerships from around the bio-IT community from innovating companies, organizations, and universities, including ACD/Labs, Genomenon, Accenture, and more.

Pure Storage announced the expansion of its Evergreen Storage Service (ES2) to provide customers with a unified subscription model across hybrid environments. This allows organizations to leverage Pure's best-in-class storage-as-a-service model on-premises, hosted and in the cloud, without the need to manage multiple subscriptions or purchase separate or overlapping capacity. Additionally, Pure announced ES2 for backup data, architected to modernize data protection environments with a flash-to-flash-to cloud architecture. Pure's ES2 now provides best-in-class storage as-a-service for block, file, object, and backup data. "The move to the cloud requires a level of flexibility that traditional vendors aren't ready to provide, and Pure is focused on leading the market with an approach that doesn't lock IT investment in capital expenditures that only serve on-premises architectures," Robson Grieve, Chief Marketing Officer, Pure Storage, said in a press release. "Now, Pure customers can stop purchasing CAPEX immediately with an on-premises ES2 subscription and gain the flexibility of true OPEX, pay-per-use consumption. Then, over time – with a concrete plan and strategy – organizations can move portions of that subscription to the cloud safely and easily, without any additional cost from Pure." Pure's unified hybrid cloud storage as-a-service makes moves to the cloud easier, faster, and less risky by providing an integrated set of tools and APIs under a common subscription model that helps customers deploy storage with more flexibility, less complexity and less cost. This allows customers to begin their hybrid journey anywhere on the spectrum and move their data in any direction without additional resources. Additionally, it gives users the power to easily and rapidly deploy cloud infrastructure to reduce cost and increase agility, as well as test new configurations before full deployment by moving data without the hassle of new contracts or subscriptions. Press release

New England Biolabs announced the launch of myNEB, an Alexa cloud-based voice service. This first of its kind, voice-activated digital lab assistant will help researchers and technicians with basic reagent-based calculations and scientific information, while they are engaged in lab work. "We're excited to introduce Alexa into the lab," said Penny Devoe, Associate Director, Portfolio Management, DNA Cloning at NEB, in a press release. "When it comes to seeking information to help with molecular biology experiments, we believe that voice activation could play a key role in the future. Scientists digest information in different ways. Going to the website isn't always the preferred method. Some people may just want to ask a digital device. Alexa in-home use is gaining in popularity, so it is only natural that it will eventually move to the laboratory too." myNEB features include: Quick tips for cloning; Ability to make experimental calculations and conversions (i.e., ligation, dilution, molarity); Access to a lab timer; Detailed information about restriction enzymes, including: heat inactivation, methylation sensitivity, activity in different buffers, concentration, cut site, catalog number, summary of highlights, etc; and Access to the NEB "Lessons from Lab & Life" podcast library for listening while working at the bench. Press release

Sapio Sciences announced the availability of Exemplar ELN Essentials, a self-service SaaS solution. Created as an entry level lab notebook with enterprise class functionality at a low, monthly cost. Users can sign up free trial of trial ELN Essentials before deciding to purchase the system. Since Sapio is hosting this solution,  users only need an internet connection and a supported browser to begin using it.  Exemplar ELN Essentials is a lab notebook that's built on Sapio's leading informatics platform solution, Exemplar ELN Pro. This new solution will address the needs of many organizations such as biotech start-ups at a much lower cost. Importantly, this is the first informatics solution that can grow via soon to be available expansion packs from an entry-level ELN to our best in class enterprise ELN and LIMS, all on the same scalable, configurable and easy to use informatics platform. Kevin Cramer, Sapio's CEO, said in a press release, "Sapio started at the high end of the food chain with an informatics platform that has best in class ELN/LIMS capabilities in one solution. Over time we began to see that many organizations, especially young biotech organizations, don't yet need all those capabilities. What they told us is they need something that addresses their basic experiment tracking and IP protection needs, but that can be easily expanded to provide more advanced capabilities such as sample management, plate designing\tracking, cheminformatics, and more. This solution is intended to meet all those needs with an ala carte model. Given our platform has been supporting the lab informatics and LIMS needs of global pharma and biotech organizations around the world, customers can also be confident they are investing in a proven platform that can address all their requirements now and in the future." Press release

ACD/Labs announced the launch of a web-based application—Percepta Portal. The Portal offers ACD/Labs’ industry leading molecular property calculators and predictors in a modern technological environment. R&D scientists in major Pharma, Agrochemicals, and many other industries have been using ACD/Labs’ molecular property calculators for more than two decades—actively benefiting from the machine learning capabilities that allow them to further improve accuracy and relevance to proprietary chemical space. Increased demand for greater flexibility within corporate distributed multi-user environments and the need to improve the support for non-Windows based operating systems led to this new development direction. Percepta Portal delivers on the demands of modern life sciences informatics tools with a scalable, enterprise level, server-client architecture, providing: Improved speed and enhanced performance—Portal architecture allows scientists to take advantage of the power of parallel computing to process large amounts of data in real time; Ease of IT support and maintenance—ACD/Labs’ portfolio of PhysChem/ADME/Tox predictors are conveniently installed, maintained, and updated in a single location; and Unprecedented integration flexibility—a portfolio of integration plugins and custom APIs allow the use of ACD/Labs’ molecular property calculators with third-party data processing and analysis platforms (e.g., Pipeline Pilot and KNIME), as well as seamless integration with in-house IT environments. Press release

Genomenon announced that Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) has become the first academic partner in their new Genomics Educators Program. Genomenon is the creator of the Mastermind Genomic Search Engine, which provides insight into the published genomic research for every disease, gene, and variant found in the scientific literature. "Schools like KGI are critical to meeting the rapidly growing demand for genetic scientists and genetic counselors, fueled by next generation DNA sequencing in patient care," said Candace Chapman, Director of Marketing for Genomenon, in a press release. "We're partnering with KGI to put our comprehensive genetic search engine into student’s hands to help them quickly and comprehensively connect patient DNA with the genomic research in the medical literature." Barbara Fortini, assistant professor of genetics in KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and coordinator for the new Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics (MSGDA) program adds, "It is a meeting of the minds. Genomenon has built a search engine that makes it easier to understand variations in the human genome. KGI is interested in revolutionizing education, and is the first of its kind to educate students for evolving roles in clinical genomics and genetic counseling." The relationship with Genomenon gives students in KGI's new two-year MSGDA and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC) programs access to the professional version of Mastermind until graduation. Press release

Certara announced that it has appointed Dr. William F. Feehery as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a member of the Certara Board of Directors, effective June 3, 2019. Feehery joins Certara from DuPont, where he has served since 2013 as president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, a $2.2 billion global biotechnology business which experienced significant growth and profitability under his leadership. In that role, he had full P&L responsibility for 3,000 people, including 500 R&D staff, 20 manufacturing plants, and worldwide marketing and sales across multiple markets. He joined DuPont in 2002 and has prior experience in venture capital and as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Dr. Feehery also serves as a board member for West Pharmaceutical Services, a manufacturer of packing components and delivery systems for pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. Dr. Edmundo Muniz, who has served as Certara CEO since June 2014, will become a member of the Certara Board of Directors and Chair of the Board’s newly-formed Science Committee. During Dr. Muniz' tenure as CEO, Certara has grown to become the world leader in model-informed decision support solutions for drug development, regulatory science and market/patient access. "We are very pleased to welcome Bill to Certara. Bill's broad and diverse background in technology and commercial operations position him well to lead the company. We are confident that his technical, operational and commercial expertise will serve him well as he takes the company to its next level of growth," Sheri McCoy, Certara Chairman of the Board, said in a press release. She went on to say that "we also want to thank Edmundo for the great work he has done in establishing the vision and strategy that has resulted in Certara becoming the world leader in model-informed drug development and a critical innovator in modeling and simulation." Press release

GladiaTOX, a new open-source solution for the analysis of high content screening (HCS) data in biomedical research, has been released on the online Bioconductor platform. Written in the R programming language, GladiaTOX enables robust and efficient storage, processing, and reporting of HCS data, in line with the landmark 21st Century Toxicology program. "GladiaTOX is an all-in-one solution for the analysis of HCS data," said Vincenzo Belcastro, Systems Biology, PMI, in a press release. "It enables the standardization of HCS data and dependable, reproducible analysis procedures that facilitate rapid-decision making processes. For example, in the field of drug discovery and toxicity screening, where thousands of data points can be generated every day, GladiaTOX allows researchers to quickly and confidently identify and prioritize candidate chemicals. It achieves this through its unique modeling algorithms, its advanced reporting tools, and its ability to integrate easily with external proprietary systems." In line with 21st Century Toxicology, GladiaTOX supports the internationally recognized "3Rs" of animal research – "replacement, reduction, and refinement" – by improving the reproducibility of in vitro HCS studies. Press release

Accenture introduced INTIENT, a technology platform that vastly improves the continuity and flow of data across life sciences enterprises, supporting the delivery of ground-breaking treatments for patients. Building upon Accenture’s market-proven platforms for research, clinical development, pharmacovigilance and patient services, INTIENT enables the rapid integration of new technology, and advanced analytics powered by Accenture Applied Intelligence. Designed with an open architecture, Accenture INTIENT will help life sciences companies advance: Data security, through compliant data ingestion, storage and processing; The application of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics – including robotic process automation and machine learning – to provide novel and actionable insights; Collaboration across the enterprise, unifying functional teams with common data insights and metrics; Access to an external partner network, removing barriers to entry for technology, data and service providers; and Productivity through more efficient, streamlined technology systems. Press release

The £27m (~$34m) UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) and Innovate UK (IUK) have launched a joint initiative, the UKI2S Innovate Accelerator. With £10m of IUK funding to be used alongside direct equity investment by UKI2S, the new scheme is designed to boost some of the UK's most exciting young companies. The UKI2S Innovate Accelerator combines the technology assessment and grant funding capabilities of Innovate UK with equity funding from UKI2S, one of the UK's leading seed-stage investors. It has been created to help companies accelerate their innovation, product development and intellectual property value faster than might be possible with equity investment alone. The Accelerator is intended to run for an initial two years and aims to back around 25 companies across a wide range of technologies and sectors. Opportunities range from an initial feasibility study through to the development of advanced engineering prototypes or critical pre-clinical studies for therapeutics. Grant sizes are likely to range from below £100,000 up to £1m for exceptional cases, with matching equity funding from syndicates led by UKI2S. Companies selected by UKI2S from its existing portfolio and its pipeline of potential new investments will be invited to apply for grants from the Accelerator. This model builds on UKI2S participation in Innovate UK's successful Investment Accelerator pilot in 2017. UKI2S accounted for a significant proportion of the companies funded under the 2017 scheme, and the fund's track record in creating companies and leveraging over £400m private investment made it an obvious choice to continue IUK's program of partnering with venture funds. Tim Sawyer, Chief Investment Officer of Innovate UK, said in a press release: "Innovate UK is committed to diversifying its funding offering so companies can access a greater choice of finance products most appropriate to their stage of development. With this Accelerator scheme, we can create a multiplier effect to crowd-forward private sector investment. By working with the investment community right from the start and awarding our funding simultaneously, we can help companies with brilliant ideas to scale and grow with confidence." Press release

labfolder GmbH and cubuslab GmbH announced their merger. The joint company will operate under the name Labforward GmbH. Both existing branch offices—Berlin and Karlsruhe—will be retained. The cubuslab products and the competences of the cubuslab team together with the strengths of labfolder pave the way for an important strategic development. "A laboratory process has three basic steps: planning, execution and documentation," explains Simon Bungers, CEO and co-founder of labfolder, in a press release. "With labfolder, we are established in the documentation stage, where all data comes together; with the cubuslab platform and the data from laboratory devices, we simplify and increase the number of data inputs. We are enormously impressed by what the cubuslab team has achieved. We have known and appreciated each other for several years, so we are looking forward to working together in the future in addition to expanding our expertise." In contrast to many proprietary solutions, the cubuslab platform can be used to integrate, monitor and control laboratory equipment across different instrument manufacturers. "Labforward therefore also stands for openness and interoperability", says Dominic Lütjohan, cubuslab CEO and co-founder, in an official statement: "We do not believe that closed systems will be a long-term success on the market. This means that the cubuslab box and software can also talk to other LIMS (Laboratory Information Management Systems) and ELNs and labfolder also interacts with other device platforms. What is important is that we have the expertise in both areas - in the laboratory, where the data is generated, and where the data is stored and processed." Press release

Cala Health announced it has completed a $50 million Series C financing. Cala Health will use the funds to introduce Cala Trio, a breakthrough therapy for hand tremors in people with essential tremor, to the market as well as expand its therapeutic pipeline. As part of the financing, industry veteran Stacy Enxing Seng will be joining Cala Health’s team as an Independent Director and Board Chair. New investors in the Series C financing include Novartis, Baird Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners, TriVentures, and others. All existing investors participated in the round, including Johnson & Johnson InnovationJJDC, Lux Capital, Lightstone Ventures, Action Potential Venture Capital, dRx Capital, and GV. Press release