New Collaborations to Address Skin Care, Gastrointestinal Disease, MS, Whole-Cell Models, Spatial Genomics

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022 | Skin health, particle-scale whole-cell models with NVIDIA, single-cell spatial genomics, diabetic kidney disease. Plus: AI in MS, inflammatory bowel disease, clinical trials, and genomic searches, and more.

Iterative Scopes, a pioneer in the development of precision-based gastrointestinal disease technologies, announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Janssen Research & Development, LLC in which Iterative Scopes will work with the Janssen Data Science and Immunology teams to augment Janssen’s clinical trials for inflammatory bowel disease with the deployment of cutting-edge AI and computer vision tools. Patient recruitment and clinical trial workflow inefficiencies are ongoing challenges for gastrointestinal clinical researchers and drug developers. Through this agreement, Iterative Scopes and Janssen will work together to integrate computational gastroenterology solutions to enhance assessment and interpretation of endoscopic video images, facilitating recruitment of eligible patients for Janssen’s IBD clinical trials. Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., the strategic venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson, participated with other investors in Iterative Scopes’ $30 million Series A financing, which closed in August 2021, as well as their $150 million Series B financing, which closed in December 2021. Press release.

Cytiva and Nucleus Biologics have signed a collaboration agreement on custom media formulation and fulfillment solutions for the cell and gene therapy industry. Using Nucleus Biologics’ proprietary platform, Cytiva customers will have access to XURI Media AI Guide, an artificial intelligence platform for optimizing cell culture formulations, and XURI Media Designer System, a cell media configurator that enables customization of cell culture media while maintaining formulation ownership, in addition to ordering “off-the-shelf” cell culture media. Access to these platforms will accelerate the development of cellular therapies by making custom cell media available early during process development and simplifying downstream scale up. Press release.

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign built a 3D simulation that replicates the physical and chemical characteristics of a whole cell at a particle scale—creating a fully dynamic model that mimics the behavior of a living cell. Published in the journal Cell, the project simulates a living minimal cell containing a pared-down set of genes essential for the cell’s survival, function, and replication. The model uses NVIDIA GPUs to simulate 7,000 genetic information processes over a 20-minute span of the cell cycle—making it what the scientists believe is the longest, most complex cell simulation to date. NVIDIA blog.

L'Oréal and Verily, an Alphabet precision health company, announced a strategic partnership to advance skin health. The first-of-its-kind partnership in the beauty industry is expected to entail two programs aimed to better understand and characterize skin and hair aging mechanisms and to inform L'Oréal's precision beauty tech strategy and product development. The first is a strategic research collaboration to establish a longitudinal biological, clinical, environmental view of skin health. It combines L'Oréal's deep scientific knowledge of skin and Verily's comprehensive clinical science capabilities to decode and discover the links between exposome, skin aging, and deep biology of the skin. The second is a partnership between Verily's R&D Team and L'Oréal's Active Cosmetics Division to explore the development of new technologies and tele-diagnosis solutions such as sensors and AI algorithms for dermatology and skincare. Press release.

PINC AI, the technology and services platform of Premier, Inc., announced the launch of INsights, an enhanced self-service healthcare solution for the creation of customized, on-demand analytics. INsights is a vendor-agnostic analytics platform that accesses PINC AI’s cleansed, standardized, and risk-adjusted healthcare data, covering more than 45 percent of all U.S. hospital inpatient discharges. INsights users can leverage pre-developed analytics developed by PINC AI and conduct customized data queries and visualizations using PINC AI or their own data sources. The platform will also serve as a development community, where users can crowdsource and share information, measures, queries, and more with others. INsights will be hosted on Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. Press release.

Vizgen, a life science company dedicated to improving human health by visualizing single-cell spatial genomics information, has announced that their MERSCOPE Platform is now broadly available across the United States. Additionally, Vizgen has released its second, open-access data set—the MERFISH Mouse Liver Map, along with an interactive web-based data visualization platform. MERSCOPE is a one-of-a-kind single-cell spatial genomics platform technology that streamlines and automates MERFISH experiments, making them more accessible to a wider variety of labs, such as those led by researchers in academia, core labs, and pharmaceutical companies. The MERSCOPE Platform offers a user-friendly, full solution workflow facilitating each step of a MERFISH experiment, making it an attractive option for labs seeking to quickly and efficiently incorporate single-cell, spatial transcriptomics into their research. The instrument is accompanied by a custom gene panel design portal, reagents and consumables, an analytical computer for integrated image processing, and interactive data visualization software. The MERSCOPE Platform is also flexible and amenable to a large variety of sample or tissue types. Together these features enable the spatial profiling of hundreds of millions of individual transcripts from hundreds of genes across hundreds of thousands of cells in a single instrument run. Press release.

TetraScience, an R&D data cloud company, announced that Paradigm4, an integrated scientific data analytics company, has joined the Tetra Partner Network (TPN) to enable pharmaceutical customers to accelerate research decision-making using Tetra Data as a foundation for analytical computing. The Tetra R&D Data Cloud ingests raw scientific data from disparate sources and engineers it into the industry's only universally adoptable format, Tetra Data, which is compliant, liquid, and actionable. Tetra Data can easily be incorporated into Paradigm4’s life sciences solutions, which enable sophisticated analysis of instrument data and other large multimodal datasets. The company’s REVEAL APIs, including REVEAL: Biobank and REVEAL: MultiOmics, are a suite of use case-specific applications that power discovery from population-scale to n-of-1 with FAIR data access and elastically scalable analytics and machine learning. Press release.

Renalytix announced the publication of positive study results for KidneyIntelX as a risk monitoring tool to assess impact and response to novel treatments for patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) at increased risk for cardiovascular events. KidneyIntelX combines three proprietary biomarkers (sTNFR1, sTNFR2, and KIM-1) and seven clinical variables from a patient’s electronic health record with machine learning to generate a patient-specific risk score. Study data support the value of KidneyIntelX to risk-stratify disease, monitor treatment response, and assess changes in risk over time, showing clinical utility not only as a bioprognostic risk assessment tool but also as a longitudinal monitoring tool. The study identified samples from patients with baseline diabetic kidney disease (DKD) to assess the association of baseline and changes in KidneyIntelX with subsequent DKD progression using the CANVAS (CANagliflozin cardioVascular Assessment Study) multinational clinical trial design as framework. Risk and response to the novel therapeutic were assessed in 1,325 participants from the trial with concurrent DKD and available baseline plasma samples, and KidneyIntelX accurately risk-stratified this large multinational cohort for progression of DKD. Press release.

Imeka, a neuroimaging company combining diffusion imaging and AI to map white matter integrity, announced a collaboration with Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. to utilize Imeka's novel biomarker technology in a Phase 2 clinical study of patients with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Imeka's non-invasive Advanced Neuro Imaging Endpoints (ANIE) biomarker platform will measure the potential effect of Atara's investigational treatment, ATA188, on neuroinflammation and remyelination in the brain and spinal cord in patients with primary progressive MS and secondary progressive MS. Atara is currently evaluating ATA188 in the Phase 2 EMBOLD clinical study in the U.S. and Australia. Press release.

PacBio announced an expansion of its extensive suite of HiFi applications with Azenta Life Sciences, formerly GENEWIZ. The deal will increase PacBio’s HiFi sequencing platforms across Azenta’s newly combined company and support Azenta’s mission to enable life science companies to deliver impactful breakthroughs and therapies to market faster. PacBio’s HiFi sequencing technology uniquely combines the benefits of high accuracy with long read lengths, providing a comprehensive view of genomes and transcriptomes to scientists tackling complex genetic challenges. Azenta’s expanded investment in HiFi sequencing signifies the technology’s ability to unlock invaluable insights for researchers in academia, pharma, and biotech. Press release.

Median Technologies announced outstanding performance for its iBiopsy Lung Cancer Screening (LCS) CADe algorithm in detecting potentially cancerous lung nodules. iBiopsy LCS offers an integrated detection/diagnosis approach (CADe/CADx) for reviewing radiographic images. Median Technologies announced results specifically focused on the lung nodule detection function, which applies Median’s proprietary deep learning algorithms to low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). The results are based on a cohort of 888 patients from the LIDC/IDRI public database. The 10-fold cross-validation method was used for training (800 train/88 test patients). The overall result, obtained by aggregating the ten test fold results, showed a sensitivity of 94.9% for a false positive rate of 1 per CT scan. Press release.

Cognivia announced a new name for the company formerly known as Tools4Patient, which provides clinical trials solutions based on AI/ML that account for individual patient personality traits, beliefs, and perceptions. The transition to Cognivia more closely reflects the company’s mission to “quantify the power of the mind” and integrate this information into data analyses to optimize and accelerate drug development. Cognivia also announced changes to its Board of Directors. Christian Jourquin, a longtime senior leader at Solvay and past board member of ING Bank, became a member of the Board. Graham Bunn, Ph.D., joined the team as Strategic Advisor to the Board. Dr. Bunn has held several leadership roles in CROs and clinical technology companies, including Vice President at Parexel International, Vice President at Medidata, and Global Vice President at Quintiles, now IQVIA. Press release.

Emmes, a global, full-service Clinical Research Organization (CRO) dedicated to supporting the advancement of public health and biopharmaceutical innovation, announced the acquisition of Institut Dr. Schauerte, a CRO headquartered in Munich, Germany.  Founded in 1990, Institut Dr. Schauerte is a full-service, technology-oriented CRO that specializes in late-phase, non-interventional, and post-market clinical follow-up studies.  It has conducted more than 400 studies across a range of therapeutic areas. Press release.

Genomenon has partnered with OmniTier, which includes integration of the Mastermind Genomic Search Engine into their on-premises based CompStor Insight genomics analysis platform. This integration will allow CompStor users to preview the number of published articles related to their search and easily link out to view the evidence in Mastermind. OmniTier’s CompStor genomics analysis platform utilizes proprietary MACS (Memory-Accelerated Compute and Storage) technologies to accelerate both secondary and tertiary analysis on standard CPU hardware without the need for GPUs or FPGAs. Locating secondary and tertiary analysis on-premises rather than in the cloud allows organizations to benefit from up to a 75% reduction in patient data storage costs, with greater control and security over their data. Additionally, OmniTier has shown that in using CompStor’s automated workflows, genomics centers can increase the number of patients that can be analyzed by 50-100X compared with manual based analysis. Genomenon’s Mastermind Genomic Search Engine supports variant interpretation efforts for cancer and genetic disease by using an AI-driven approach to connect patient genetic data with relevant evidence from scientific literature.  Press release.

BioLife Solutions has announced an extended collaboration with Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, a venture at Seattle Children’s, bringing cutting edge, curative technologies and therapies to defeat pediatric cancer and other diseases that impact children. The increased alliance will focus on establishing best practices in biopreservation and closed-system manufacturing with the introduction and integration of Sexton’s AF-500 closed-system processing for cell therapy manufacturing and viral vector delivery to be used in Seattle Children’s Therapeutics new lentiviral vector manufacturing facility called VectorWorks. Press Release.