Oxford Nanopore Extends Collaboration With UPS Healthcare, Illumina Delivers High Throughput Sequencing System to the Broad Institute, More

February 23, 2023

February 23, 2023 | Advanced machine learning provides objective tumor response assessments and unlocks novel biomarkers to predict patient outcomes; a comprehensive single-cell multi-omic solution enables the simultaneous exploration of the whole genome and whole mRNA transcriptome from the same single cell; cutting-edge generative AI models, proprietary wet-lab technologies, and a leading cancer biospecimen repository and molecular database identify new therapeutic candidates at accelerated speeds; and more. 

Vysioneer announced a data-sharing agreement with Pfizer. The deal aims to lay the foundation for the application of AI in oncology clinical trials. Vysioneer's AI technology provides objective tumor response assessments and unlocks novel biomarkers to predict patient outcomes at the earliest time points. As part of the agreement, Vysioneer gains access to one of Pfizer's oncology clinical trial datasets to apply Vysioneer's advanced machine learning techniques to facilitate the drug efficacy assessment process, thereby allowing Pfizer to assess drug efficacy with greater granularity and explore advanced biomarkers and novel endpoints. AI can markedly improve clinical trial image reading processes and enhance the ability to provide more granular insights down to every single tumor. Press release

Oxford Nanopore Technologies announced an extension of its collaboration with UPS Healthcare to accelerate the delivery of Oxford Nanopore DNA/RNA sequencing products and consumables across the Asia Pacific region. The partnership will strengthen Oxford Nanopore’s portable, real-time DNA sequencing devices’ supply chain throughout Asia’s main markets. Oxford Nanopore’s flow cells will be stored in UPS Healthcare’s temperature-controlled distribution facility in Singapore for the first time and be delivered within 24- to 48- hours through UPS’s cold chain distribution capabilities to destinations across the Asia Pacific. The goal will be same-day dispatch and faster delivery of flow cells. These consumable cartridges contain the technology and chemistry needed for nanopore-based sequencing and are run in conjunction with Oxford Nanopore’s product line. Press release

The European Parliament voted positively with an overwhelming majority on the draft issued last month from The European Commission to amend the Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and the In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Regulation (IVDR) to reduce the risk of shortages. The Notified Body TÜV SÜD welcomes the amendment in the interest of patient safety and calls on manufacturers to act promptly. In principle, manufacturers will now be given more time to bring existing products into compliance with the MDR. The sell-off period for existing products previously specified in the MDR Art.120(4) and IVDR Art 110(4) has also been abolished to allow medical devices already placed on the market to be available beyond the end date of May 2025. TÜV SÜD is one of the first Notified Bodies worldwide to be approved for MDR testing. Press release

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Xilis announced a strategic collaboration to deploy Xilis’ proprietary MicroOrganoSphere (MOS) technology in support of preclinical research to accelerate the development of novel cancer therapies. Under the agreement, the two organizations aim to advance drug development and discovery projects using the MOS platform, which enables translational research on patient-derived micro tumors with new capabilities and at a scale not possible with current in vivo models. The MOS technology provides the first reliable platform to rapidly assess how a patient’s tumor responds to various cancer drug modalities within 14 days of obtaining harvested tumor cell samples while sustaining the native tumor microenvironment. The platform can also accelerate the development of disease models, such as those of rare cancers and treatment-resistant diseases. Press release

NANO-X IMAGING LTD announced that its deep-learning medical imaging analytics subsidiary, Nanox.AI, has connected to the Nuance Precision Imaging Network. This secure nationwide cloud platform empowers collaborative care teams with streamlined communications and AI insights from diagnostic imaging within existing workflows to improve healthcare outcomes and costs. Leveraging AI, Nanox.AI helps clinicians extract valuable and actionable clinical insights from medical imaging that otherwise may go unnoticed. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the Nuance Precision Imaging Network provides access to an entire ecosystem of AI-powered tools and insights within clinical workflows to more than 12,000 healthcare facilities and 80% of U.S. radiologists. Nuance is a Microsoft company. Press release

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Replay announced the launch of Syena, a new oncology-focused product company pioneering T-cell receptor (TCR) natural killer (NK) cell therapies. Syena can potentially create the next generation of cell therapy, combining the safety, potency, and scalability of NK cells with the ability of TCRs to target intracellular tumor antigens. It targets a selection of validated cancer neoantigens, including NY-ESO-1 and additional undisclosed TCRs. Syena’s TCR-NK cell therapy platform will combine the advantages of engineered TCR cancer therapy with those of NK cells, offering improved safety and efficacy through a multi-armored approach incorporating natural and artificial mechanisms. Using a TCR allows the NK cell to recognize externalized protein fragments presented by the cell’s surface immune proteins. Press release

Singapore robotics firm AiTreat will embark on a new product evaluation in the United States for their massage robot powered by artificial intelligence at Mayo Clinic. A randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of the massage robot with existing therapies such as manual Tuina—a massage used in Traditional Chinese Medicine—in managing chronic low back pain is also being planned in Singapore. The research project will use Expert Manipulative Massage Automation (EMMA), the flagship product of AiTreat. EMMA aims to alleviate the workforce shortage of skilled massage therapists and possibly augment the work of physiotherapists in managing fewer complex cases in Singapore and other countries, thus helping bring down treatment costs while providing consistent, high-quality treatment to every patient. If the trial results are positive, it will pave the way for a robotic solution of an integrative East-West approach in managing low back pain. Press release

Parse Biosciences announced the availability of Evercode T-cell Receptor (TCR) and Gene Capture—new solutions to address larger-scale and immune profiling applications. Evercode TCR allows researchers to profile TCRs with whole transcriptomes in single cells at scale. Evercode TCR will enable researchers to measure whole transcriptomes and paired TCR sequences—alpha and beta chains—in up to 1 million cells. Combining TCR sequences with gene expression at this scale makes it possible to track TCR clonotypes across different T-cell subtypes and activation states to understand the immune repertoire at exceptional resolution. Parse also announced the launch of Gene Capture, a solution to reduce sequencing needs for larger studies. Gene Capture focuses sequencing on the most relevant genes, making it possible to efficiently scale projects to millions of cells and hundreds of samples. The solution allows researchers to enrich for 100s-1000s of genes, requiring 10 times less sequencing. Press release

Illumina announced that its first NovaSeq X Plus system was recently delivered to the Broad Institute. The NovaSeq X Series is Illumina's most powerful sequencing system, delivering an unprecedented combination of high throughput and accuracy and featuring streamlined informatics, breakthrough sustainability advancements, and cost-effective sequencing economics. Illumina also unveiled the technology behind Illumina Complete Long Reads, which generates highly accurate long reads in an efficient, scalable workflow. The initial Illumina Complete Long Read products are focused on whole human genomes and are compatible with the NovaSeq X Series and the NovaSeq 6000, expanding the capabilities of both systems. In 2023, Illumina will launch two Illumina Complete Long Reads products—a whole-genome assay and an enrichment panel—enabling a comprehensive, high-accuracy, long-read view for as low as $600 per genome. Press release and featured article

Absci Corporation and St. John’s Cancer Institute (SJCI) announced a partnership to uncover breakthrough cancer therapies. This partnership will leverage Absci’s Integrated Drug Creation platform, which combines innovative generative AI models and proprietary wet-lab technologies and SJCI’s leading cancer biospecimen repository and molecular database to identify at accelerated speeds new therapeutic candidates with the potential for a higher probability of clinical success. Through the partnership, Absci will integrate SJCI’s extensive clinically annotated molecular data assets into Absci’s target discovery platform. As a component of the partnership, Absci and SJCI may also choose to further expand the collaboration through the development of therapeutic candidates towards IND-enabling studies and clinical trials, as well as conducting early-stage clinical trials for newly discovered therapeutics at St. John’s Cancer Institute. Press release

Multi-Emmy award-winning filmmaker Oren Rosenfeld has joined Docuthon—a documentary film hackathon from generative artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery company Insilico Medicine—as a judge. The first-of-its-kind film competition invites participants worldwide to tell the story of AI drug discovery through the lens of Insilico Medicine’s journey. Through the Docuthon competition, Insilico Medicine allows filmmakers to access hundreds of hours of footage. Between the two main categories, short and feature, participants worldwide can win prizes for best feature, best short, best edited, and most creative films. In addition to monetary awards of up to $8,000, the Docuthon will provide collaboration opportunities for winners to further their film careers and contribute to the broader story of AI drug discovery. Those interested in scientific storytelling and filmmaking are invited to learn more and register for the Docuthon. Press release

BioSkryb Genomics announced the commercial launch of its ResolveOME Whole Genome and Transcriptome Amplification system and BaseJumper Bioinformatics Platform. For the first time in the single-cell analysis market, ResolveOME makes it possible to interrogate the entire genome, transcriptome, exomes, or targeted gene content from a single cell with exceptional coverage and accuracy. The ResolveOME system offers a comprehensive single-cell multi-omic solution, enabling the simultaneous exploration of the whole genome and whole mRNA transcriptome from the same single cell. The BaseJumper Bioinformatics Platform has been designed to complement the ResolveOME system, streamlining the process of single-cell informatics at scale. The platform allows for the rapid organization and mapping of multi-omic (DNA, RNA, and protein) data generated by the ResolveOME system, empowering researchers from all disciplines to easily interpret and visualize large data sets through dynamic filtering capabilities and a suite of visualization applications. Press release

Lenovo and WEKA announced a new global agreement that offered solutions for next-generation data management architectures and performance-intensive workloads for delivery in more than 160 markets worldwide. As part of Lenovo’s expanding data management investments and momentum, Lenovo will combine WEKA’s ultra-high-performance, hybrid cloud data platform software with its industry-leading Lenovo ThinkSystem servers to deliver a compelling, high-performance, and scalable data management solution for AI and data analytics. The new ThinkSystem SDS Ready Nodes with WEKA Data Platform software will provide the industry’s broadest configuration choices, allowing customers to choose from the latest generations of Intel and AMD processors, NVIDIA GPUs, NVMe drives, and fast networking selections. The combined Lenovo and WEKA solution is architected to simplify scale while delivering quality uptime and performance. Press release

Arima Genomics and Pierian—now a part of Velsera—-announced co-marketing and licensing agreements that will provide enhanced gene fusion detecting capabilities to clinical labs. Under the terms of the deal, Velsera will integrate Arima Genomics’ targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing pipelines into the Pierian Clinical Genomics Workspace. This cloud-based platform provides clinical labs with more streamlined and accurate NGS data analysis, interpretation, and reporting. The combined solution will enable clinical laboratories to implement sample-to-answer Arima gene fusion testing more efficiently, helping them identify gene fusions and other structural variants. Arima Genomics' gene fusion tools have shown utility in identifying actionable gene fusions found in cancer tumors, even among tumors previously classified as driver-negative using other sequencing-based classification methods. Press release

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) announced a new instrument for single-cell multi-omics analysis that will enable scientists to run high-throughput studies without sacrificing sample integrity—potentially accelerating time to discovery across a wide range of disciplines, including immunology, genetic disease research, and cancer and chronic disease research. The BD Rhapsody HT Xpress System enables scientists to isolate, barcode, and analyze single cells at up to eight times more cells than prior versions of BD single-cell analyzers. BD also introduced the BD Rhapsody Mouse TCR/BCR Multiomic Assay, a cell receptor profiling tool for single-cell studies, as well as BD Flex Single-Cell Multiplexing Kits, a companion tool for single-cell studies on any BD Rhapsody system, including the BD Rhapsody HT Xpress System, enabling more elements to be measured in a single run by expanding the number of sample tags. Press release

Soundable Health and Valensa International announced a collaboration on evaluating the progression and management of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) using proudP, Soundable’s FDA Class II mobile uroflow monitoring application to showcase the clinical usefulness and convenience of proudP in LUTS monitoring. This collaboration will closely observe the progression of LUTS management in real life with the intake of Flomentum saw palmetto extract, a dietary supplement that promotes prostate and urinary health in men. The two companies hope that this collaboration will clearly show the versatility and convenience of proudP, not only for patients or physicians but also for pharmaceutical or dietary supplement researchers. Press release

Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of the CFX Opus Deepwell Dx Real-Time PCR System, a real-time PCR system listed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for in vitro diagnostic testing and developed under the European Union’s regulations for in vitro diagnostic medical devices (EU 2017/746). The CFX Opus Deepwell Dx Real-Time PCR System system offers accurate and precise quantification with flexibility for reactions up to 125 µl in a 96-well format for quantitative PCR diagnostic assays. The CFX Opus Dx Real-Time PCR System is also available in a 96- and 384-well reaction block format. CFX Opus Dx Real-Time PCR Systems offer easy-to-use desktop management and analysis software with integrated security features for electronic signature, audit, and user control. Press release

Biosero and Virscidian announced a collaboration and co-marketing agreement to support fully automated analytical workflows for medicinal chemistry and other scientific applications, including accelerated drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics screening. Virscidian developed the Analytical Studio platform—including Analytical Studio Professional and Analytical Studio Express software—to accelerate drug discovery. Biosero provides Green Button Go laboratory automation software to schedule, coordinate, and manage the physical flow of materials, the control of instruments, and the digital flow of information on workstations or throughout entire laboratory facilities. By working together, Biosero and Virscidian enable their customers to quickly transfer data between these software platforms so that full medicinal chemistry and analytical workflows can be automated. This approach means more compounds can be tested and moved into follow-up analysis, reducing or removing the need for human intervention. Press release

Daelight Solutions recently became a Preferred Business Process/Strategy Partner for Veeva Vault Submissions and Registrations. Daelight achieved its Preferred partner status within the RIM Suite by completing three projects with three different customers, including some “RIM Health Assessments,” where it evaluated how effectively a customer was leveraging their Veeva investment and provided an Action Plan to get to a better future state. Daelight is also a Migration Certified Services Partner and is certified in Implementation Support for Vault eTMF and QualityDocs, Business Process/Strategy for Vault eTMF. Press release

BenchSci announced the launch of its latest technology, ASCEND by BenchSci, to help remove barriers resulting in 98% of pharmaceutical research investments failing to reach patients. The intuitive software platform empowers scientists to discover biological connections, dramatically reduce trial-and-error experimentation and uncover risks early to move the most promising projects forward faster. Using curated ontology datasets, the platform makes connections across experiment outcomes to create the first commercially available, unbiased, and evidenced-based map of the underlying biology of disease. Press release

Recursion announced the public release of MolRec—one of its many interactive internal tools to explore the company's proprietary maps of biology and chemistry. Recursion maps help scientists understand the topology and connectedness of human biology and chemistry to navigate the path to new medicines more efficiently. In addition, Recursion released RxRx3, its largest open-source cellular imaging dataset to date, spanning approximately 2.2 million images across the human genome and 1,600 commercially available compounds in a single cell type. The RxRx3 dataset and the part of MolRec available to the public are built using a small subset of Recursion's experimental inputs: Approximately 1,600 commercially available compounds at eight doses each and 17,000 gene knockouts. The application can be used to uncover known and novel compound-compound as well as compound-gene relationships. Press release

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) re-launched its MGFA Global MG Patient Registry in partnership with Alira Health. The MGFA registry enables MG patients to safely, securely, and confidentially contribute their health and symptom data to help researchers design and drive clinical trials for making MG discoveries and finding better treatments to improve MG patient outcomes. Patients will add their data to the structured registry questionnaire twice a year, while also having the opportunity to contribute their day-to-day health experience data using the app, so that researchers can benefit from a deeper understanding of the lived experience of patients with MG. Press release.