Gilead Chooses AWS, Illumina, Sequoia Fund Chinese Startups, More

November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021 | Illumina powers the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network, organ-on-a-chip explores infectious disease, and cell analysis acquisitions. Plus new products from PerkinElmer, Bio-Rad, Roswell Biotechnologies, Genialis, and more.  

Gilead Sciences has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider. Innovating on AWS and with the help of AWS experts and partners in healthcare and life sciences, Gilead provides its data scientists with the latest advances in machine learning and analytics. These capabilities fuel data-driven decision making across the organization—from biomarker discovery through manufacturing and clinical trial recruitment—and deliver insights that can help Gilead refine its drug pipeline. The company also relies on AWS to host all workloads for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) transformation project to implement SAP S/4HANA. Press release.

PerkinElmer has announced the launch of its PKeye Workflow Monitor, a cloud-based platform enabling laboratory personnel to remotely manage and monitor their PerkinElmer instruments and workflows in real-time. The PKeye Workflow Monitor offers scientists and researchers 24/7 access and visibility into their laboratory operations. With a cloud-based web design and centralized summary dashboard, authorized users can monitor and view real-time status updates, receive notifications, run completion data and view video clips remotely from their office, a meeting or the comfort of their homes. With the option to receive notifications via email or SMS, the PKeye Workflow Monitor informs users of the start, stop and completion of operations. It can also notify users if manual intervention is needed, such as the replenishment of tips or need to refill reagents. With instruments enabled with video recording capabilities, the platform can also record and store specific events and errors, allowing authorized users to study them at a later date. Press release.

ImmunityBio, a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, has expanded the company’s cancer and infectious disease vaccine programs to include self-amplifying self-adjuvating RNA (SASA-RNA), recombinant protein vaccine candidates, and potent adjuvant formulations that enhance the quality, durability and breadth of immune responses to infectious diseases and cancer. When combined with the company’s hAd5 T-cell-based vaccine candidate, the company believes this “mix-and-match” approach will enable a new generation of COVID-19 vaccines that could potentially confer long-term immune memory to overcome the threat of current and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. ImmunityBio has established partnerships with Amyris, Inc., Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), and a collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine to bring these technologies together to establish a vaccine consortium and develop multiple vaccine candidates, conduct comprehensive clinical testing, and to immediately further scale ImmunityBio’s manufacturing capabilities for global capacity for each of these vaccine candidates. Press release.

Illumina and Sequoia Capital China have selected the first two startup companies joining the Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator, Powered by Illumina. Located in Zhangjiang Cell Industrial Park, Shanghai, the incubator will serve as a company creation engine focused on supporting life sciences startup companies who are poised to deliver breakthrough applications in genomics and multiomics. The startups selected for the inaugural funding cycle are: Mobidrop Biotechnology, a medical device and research tools company developing cutting-edge, single-cell sequencing microfluidic technologies for molecular diagnostics applications; and Sequanta Technologies, a multiomics company committed to building DNA, RNA, epitome, and proteomics technology platforms for research and clinical applications. Startups will be selected twice a year to join the incubator for a six-month funding cycle. Sequoia Capital China will provide them with access to investment and business guidance, and they will work with Illumina sequencing systems and reagents in a fully operational lab space, accessing Illumina's genomics and business expertise. Press release.

mRNA Victoria, the agency of the Australian State of Victoria Government charged with building the State’s mRNA manufacturing and research capability, and Ginkgo Bioworks announced a partnership to support vaccine development, biosecurity initiatives, and the application to Ginkgo’s platform in the pharmaceutical and biotech, food and agriculture, and mining and bioremediation/recycling sectors in Australia. As the first step in the partnership, Ginkgo will establish an office in Melbourne in what is hoped to be a future long-term business expansion within Australia. Press release.

Bio-Rad Laboratories has launched StarBright UltraViolet 400 Dye, the first in its range of unique fluorescent nanoparticles designed for use with a UV laser in flow cytometry applications. StarBright UltraViolet 400 Dye offers exceptional brightness with narrow excitation and emission profiles, making it suitable for use in multicolor flow cytometry panels. Bio-Rad’s range of StarBright Dyes are conjugated to highly validated flow antibodies and are compatible with most flow cytometers and experimental protocols. Press release.

Cellenion and Bruker have announced a co-marketing agreement to advance label-free single cell proteomics analyses. The goal of this partnership is to combine Cellenion’s cellenONE single cell isolation and dispensing platform with Bruker’s timsTOF SCP mass spectrometers to deliver end-to-end label-free single cell 4D-proteomics solution. The combination of these two instruments will allow automated sample preparation from single cell isolation to Mass Spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics analysis on single cells. Cellenion has developed cellenONE, a unique single-cell isolation and nanoliter dispensing technology allowing high throughput image-based dispensing of individual cells from cell suspensions and precision dispensing of reagents to automate and miniaturize sample preparation prior to single cells analyses. Press release.

Roswell Biotechnologies has introduced the first molecular electronics chip and the Roswell Molecular Electronics (ME) Platform for biosensing applications. The company unveiled the technology along with an early development partnership program at its inaugural Molecular Electronics Day in San Diego, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first microprocessor chip, the Intel 4004. A peer-review paper, authored by Roswell scientists, and professors George Church, PhD, of Harvard and MIT and James Tour, PhD, of Rice University, is under review at The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Press release.

Ginkgo Bioworks has launched its Cell Development Kits (CDKs) service. CDKs provide streamlined access to the company's platform for aspiring cell developers to program cells to tackle the biggest challenges facing society. The first CDKs to launch are focused on protein expression programs. The service provides developers access to the toolkit needed to get started developing commercial proteins, including pre-engineered host cells optimized for protein production, specialized equipment, automation capabilities, genetic engineering expertise, insights garnered from Ginkgo's codebase and the applicable infrastructure to design, build, and test a custom microbe. Ginkgo's CDKs are designed to cut the cost of launching a cell program and speed up development timelines to build engineered microbes, for example, to determine whether a protein may be successfully and commercially produced. The service is also designed to enable customers to prototype their idea in phases, with each phase providing data that can inform the customer's project and business strategy. By simplifying the pathway for companies to get started on the Ginkgo platform with standard terms, a phased approach, low costs—starting at $100,000 for protein expression projects—and clear deliverables, the CDK can help derisk projects prior to full scale technical development. Press release.

CN Bio, a leading Organ-on-a-chip Company (OOC) that designs and manufactures single- and multi-organ microphysiological systems (MPS), has announced a research collaboration with the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON), a global collaborative infectious disease R&D program, to validate the next generation of COVID-19 research tools. iiCON’s £174 million program brings together industry, academia, and clinicians to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new treatments and products, saving and improving millions of lives through collaborative innovation. Led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), its partner members are Unilever, Evotec, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics. Under the terms of the agreement, iiCON lead partner, LSTM, a world-leading institute for infectious disease research, will independently validate CN Bio’s novel lung and lung-liver models, designed to advance novel SARS-CoV-2 drug discovery and development. Press release.

Illumina has announced that its world-class sequencing and bioinformatics solutions are being used by HostSeq, part of the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), to identify biomarkers that can help predict potential risk of serious disease and support the development of novel therapeutics to combat COVID-19. By sequencing the genomes of up to 10,000 patients diagnosed or affected by COVID-19 throughout Canada, the findings from this program will help researchers and the medical community better understand the role of human genetics in COVID-19 susceptibility. Illumina Connected Analytics (ICA), the company's signature bioinformatics solution, will enable researchers to safely and securely move petabyte-sized datasets generated by CGEn, the country's platform for sequencing and informatics, from state-of-art sequencers in Toronto (The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG) at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Montreal (McGill Genome Centre), and Vancouver (Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre) into a common "cloud" accessible to approved researchers at some of the country's leading research facilities and hospitals. Illumina has worked closely with CGEn since early 2020 to help provide comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for reagent supply, sequencing and informatics to HostSeq. Press release.

Cytek Biosciences has acquired the cell analysis business of Tonbo Biosciences, which includes an extensive portfolio of life science research reagents related to cell preparation, flow cytometry, molecular immunology/PCR and cell culture covering application areas across immunology, apoptosis, and immunoprofiling. The addition of the Tonbo Biosciences portfolio of reagents will enable Cytek to offer extended flow cytometry capabilities to meet customer needs in protein and cell analysis research. Tonbo’s reagents will complement Cytek’s cFluor family of proprietary reagents, which represent the culmination of years of experience understanding full spectrum cytometry and how fluorophores react together in multicolor panels. Press release.

Genialis has launched ResponderID, a new AI/ML-enabled platform specifically for use in clinical biomarker discovery. ResponderID may be implemented to support pharma drug pipelines and diagnostic test product portfolios from conception to market. ResponderID has grown out of solutions to real-world challenges as discovered through work with innovative biotechs like InhibRx and OncXerna Therapeutics. OncXerna recently announced its lead biomarker, the Xerna TME Panel, has been licensed by Qiagen for development as a companion diagnostic (CDx) and RUO kit. Press release.

AlivaMab Discovery Services, a leader in the discovery of superior antibody therapeutics, has expanded its agreement with IGM Biosciences. ADS will rapidly discover diverse panels of human antibodies for the development of engineered antibody-based therapeutics by IGM. The multi-target agreement occurs after the successful conclusion of a pilot project in which ADS identified and delivered to IGM a panel of combinatorially diverse, potently functional, high-affinity antibodies in less than three months. Press release.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has launched its newest mass spectrometry (MS) instruments, workflows and software solutions. The new systems and software tools expand Thermo Fisher’s portfolio of MS-based solutions, empowering scientists to drive ground-breaking discoveries and boost analytical performance across a wide range of areas, including proteomics, biopharmaceutical characterization, process monitoring and food safety. The company has also acquired PharmaFluidics, adding patterned microchip-based technology to its liquid chromatography portfolio. Press release.

Metabolon has launched the first offering from its new SmartPanel portfolio. SmartPanel solutions provide drug discovery and precision medicine researchers with a novel, dynamic process to explore biologically relevant views of metabolomic data in the context of specific metabolic pathways, biological themes, and disease associations. Metabolon’s Microbiome SmartPanel demystifies the gut microbiome by zeroing in on biologically relevant microbial and host-derived metabolites, along with xenobiotic molecules, to reveal deep insight into microbiome function and its impact on host health. The proprietary Heliogram visualization tool allows users to explore 13 microbiome pathways for rapid connectivity to the impact of therapeutic interventions on the host microbiome. In addition, the on-demand access to Metabolon’s comprehensive pathway knowledge base gives seamless access to expertly curated, microbiome-relevant disease associations and biological themes. Press release.