AI Predicts Diseases, Advancing Toward HIV Cure, Acquisitions, New Partnerships

June 29, 2023

June 29, 2023 | Illumina announces an AI algorithm that predicts disease-causing genetic mutations; American Gene Technologies’ new company will focus solely on advancing an HIV cure; Datacubed looks for genomic foundation for PTSD; and new partnerships for NTT Research, the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, Seqera Labs, Genomics England, Complete Genomics. Plus, product updates from 10x Genomics, Thermo Fisher, Benchling, Saama Revvity, and more.  

Illumina Ventures is launching Illumina Ventures Labs, which will operate and provide access to fully equipped genomics labs in the US and the UK, mentorship, and seed financing to attract a broad range of genomics related start-ups. Illumina, Inc. will provide the start-ups with technical guidance from its subject matter experts and will provide Illumina Ventures Labs access to its next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, in lieu of operating its Accelerator program. Press release

Insilico Medicine announced that it has completed the first dose in patients in the Phase II clinical trial of INS018_055, marking the world's first anti-fibrotic small molecule inhibitor discovered and designed using generative AI, initiating Phase II clinical trials for further evaluation. Press release.  

The Max Delbrück Center in Berlin and Heidelberg University founded a new Helmholtz Institute for Translational AngioCardioScience (HI-TAC) in Mannheim and Heidelberg, Germany. The institute will integrate vascular biomedicine, systems biology and heart research. Establishment of HI-TAC will begin in July 2023. The project will benefit from partnerships with the European Center for Angioscience (ECAS) at the University Medical Center Mannheim, the Department of Cardiology and Institute of Experimental Cardiology at Heidelberg University Hospital, the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). Press release

Bio-Techne Corporation has reached an agreement to acquire Lunaphore, Inc. Bio-Techne anticipates the acquisition to close in the first quarter of its fiscal 2024. Lunaphore is a leading developer of fully automated spatial biology solutions using precision microfluidic technology capable of revealing hyperplex proteomic and transcriptomic biomarkers in tumors and other tissues at single-cell and subcellular resolution. Lunaphore's spatial biology technology enables the identification of biomarker "signatures" with clinical relevance, providing data necessary to support the development of diagnostic tools and streamline clinical trials, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Bio-Techne and Lunaphore recently announced a strategic partnership to develop the first fully automated spatial multiomic workflow. Press release.  

SandboxAQ announced its bio-pharma molecular simulation division, AQBioSim. The division is helping biopharma and research institutions achieve breakthroughs in treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other conditions. The company is currently working with a range of biopharma companies and university research labs, including AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and UC San Francisco. Initial customer milestones show that these technologies can decrease the time and cost of developing new therapies, and de-risk drug portfolios before entering preclinical and clinical stages. These tools serve as the catalyst for a suite of drug discovery solutions that combine the accuracy of quantum mechanical equations with the speed and power of AI, available on classical computing hardware. Subsequent advancements include large-scale molecular dynamics simulations able to handle complex, undruggable targets. Press release.  

Neogap Therapeutics announced its acquisition of the remaining 30% of the shares in its subsidiary, TCER Oncology AB. This acquisition will broaden Neogap's patent portfolio and strengthen the company's pipeline of potential drug candidates, further consolidating Neogap's position in the field. The acquisition not only expands Neogap's patent portfolio but also enhances the company's pipeline of potential candidates for future preclinical and clinical development. Press release

Saama has launched its unified platform of SaaS-based products to accompany its existing portfolio of customized solutions and services. The Saama platform deploys its artificial intelligence (AI)- and machine learning (ML)-enhanced solutions to automate key clinical development processes and provide a holistic view of trial operations and patient progress in one location. By applying AI and advanced analytics to key clinical development processes, Saama’s platform eliminates manual, resource-intensive activities, allowing life science organizations to optimize productivity as well as gain deeper insights into patients’ behaviors and their real-time response to treatments. Press release.  

Culture Biosciences and Cytiva are collaborating to advance innovation in upstream bioprocessing by providing customers greater access to predictive and robust scale-up capabilities. Together, Cytiva and Culture Biosciences aim to bring to customers new bioprocess solutions that use digitization, in-silico approaches, and virtual monitoring and control of experiments. Cytiva’s Bioreactor Scaler tool now includes Culture’s 250 mL bioreactor. The Bioreactor Scaler tool enables seamless scaling between development and manufacturing. Scientists can identify scale-up or scale-down process control parameters by entering in their existing process details and cell line characteristics. The tool helps to de-risk scaling activities and ensure product quality. Teams can collaborate virtually from anywhere. Press release.  

Datacubed Health is partnering with Eugene Lipov, M.D. in a pioneering study focused on the extent of physiologic impact of post-traumatic stress on the body including impact on the DNA of the patient. This research, sponsored by ErasePTSD Now, The Donovan & Bank Foundation, and Glenn Greenberg and Linda Vester Foundation, is specifically designed to evaluate and possibly reverse increased inflammation, reduced testosterone levels, and accelerated aging known to occur due to extreme combat stress experienced by the U.S. special forces. The study will follow veterans who have served in special forces units. By applying Dual Sympathetic Reset, the study aims to provide significant relief to participants and potentially transform their lives mentally as well as physically. The outcomes of this study have the potential to revolutionize the landscape of post-traumatic stress treatment for special forces combat veterans and enhance the well-being of countless individuals worldwide. Press release

Complete Genomics announced new partnerships among other announcements for its 18th anniversary. Complete Genomics is partnering with Invivoscribe, a San Diego based-vertically-integrated biotechnology company, that will develop biomarker tests on DNBSEQ-G99RS platforms for oncology and cancer research. Complete Genomics also announced a pairing of its sequencing platform DNBSEQ-T7RS with AccuraGen’s proprietary assay technology. Press release.  

The Pistoia Alliance announced a new partnership with Matador Japan KK to enable pre-competitive collaboration in the Japanese market. Pistoia and Matador share the vision that bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds and experiences will enable companies to deploy new technologies and solve common R&D challenges faster and more effectively. By joining forces, they will help members accelerate research and grant them access to a truly global pharmaceutical ecosystem. Together, Pistoia and Matador will create further networking and interest groups in the Japanese language and time-zone that directly benefit member organizations in the region. Japanese pharmaceutical companies have demonstrated R&D excellence in areas such as targeted immunotherapy, the human microbiome, and neurology. Partnering with the Pistoia Alliance will give members access to global expertise in these domains. Press release.  

Pixelgen Technologies has commercially launched its first kit, the Pixelgen Single Cell Spatial Proteomics Kit, Immunology Panel I, Human (Pixelgen SCSP Kit), which is based on the company's proprietary Molecular Pixelation (MPX) technology for spatial analyses of immune cell surface proteins in 3D. The Pixelgen Single Cell Spatial Proteomics Kit, Immunology Panel I, Human (Pixelgen SCSP Kit) is the first product to convey spatial polarization and colocalization of proteins on the cell surface at high-multiplex, in 3D, offering new insights into biology in health and disease. The new kit includes commercial protocol, reagents, and free software to perform and analyze Molecular Pixelation in single cells. The Pixelgen SCSP Kit aims to close those gaps by capturing 3D maps of how proteins are spatially organized on the cell surface and in relation to one another. Press release.  

SomaLogic and Citogen, the Longwood Group’s customer services and support unit, are collaborating to establish SomaLogic’s first authorized site in Spain. As part of the agreement, Citogen will offer the 7,000-plex SomaScan Assay and provide SomaScan data to their customers in Southern Europe supporting biological research across an array of disciplines including clinical research, population health studies and nutrigenomics. Press release.  

BC Platforms announced the addition of one of Brazil’s leading cardiology centers, Hospital do Coração (HCor), to its Global Data Partner Network, BCRQUEST.COM, to drive insights into drug discovery and development through analytics and realize the potential of real-world data worldwide. HCor possesses valuable longitudinal patient data, including on cardiovascular conditions such as atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and stroke. Today, BCRQUEST.COM holds rich real-world data from more than 65 million patient lives on 6 continents including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Since 2021, HCor has made significant strides in digitalization by implementing an electronic medical records system and integrating technology across various sectors of its operations. Press release.  

Revvity has launched Signals Research Suite, a unified, cloud-native SaaS platform that drives scientific collaboration across R&D disciplines from drug discovery to specialty chemicals material development. The new solution from Revvity Signals Software, the software and informatics arm of Revvity, is available worldwide. It integrates the Revvity Signals Notebook, VitroVivo and Inventa applications into a single, robust solution that supports the entire drug development process, from early research and in vitro testing and safety to early development as well as specialty chemicals new product development. Press release.  

American Gene Technologies (AGT) launched a new company—Addimmune—to continue to develop gene and cell therapy technologies to cure HIV. Addimmune will focus solely on advancing an HIV cure, building upon more than a decade of work by AGT that led to a successful Phase 1 HIV gene and cell therapy clinical trial. Addimmune aims to create tremendous benefits for HIV patients, payers, and the public. Its gene therapy technology has the power to transform millions of lives. The new company’s name represents a fusion of two fundamental concepts: using gene and cell therapy to add new capacity to the human T cell to create an improved immune system to fight HIV. Press release.  

NTT Research and the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (NCVC) are jointly launching a Bio Digital Twin Center in Suita, Japan. This initiative extends and expands the scope of a joint agreement on cardiovascular bio digital twin (CV BioDT) research between the two organizations reached in 2020. Scientists at the NTTR-NCVC Bio Digital Twin Center intend to create applications by integrating mathematical models, co-developed by the MEI Lab and NCVC, onto the CV BioDT platform advanced by the MEI Lab. Drs. Kazunori Uemura and Keita Saku (M.D., Ph.D.s) will lead the NTTR-NCVC Bio Digital Twin Center, respectively, as laboratory chief and acting director. This is the NCVC’s first such collaboration with a company partner. Press release.  

Parse Biosciences launched CRISPR Detect, enabling single cell pooled CRISPR screens at unprecedented scale. Bulk pooled CRISPR screening has been a valuable tool to understand gene function on a genome scale. Adding single cell resolution to pooled CRISPR screens pairs individual gene perturbations with rich whole transcriptome expression phenotypes. CRISPR Detect brings the scale of existing Parse Evercode technology to single cell CRISPR screening by enabling users to pair perturbations and transcriptional profiles in up to one million cells in a single experiment. This scale will expand the applications of single cell CRISPR screening particularly in drug discovery where cost has limited their use to targeted validation studies. Press release.  

Cima University of Navarra and the Weizmann Institute of Science have signed an agreement for research against cancer. This agreement aims to implement three pioneering biomedical projects that combine artificial intelligence, cutting-edge genetic technology, and advanced therapies. These projects seek to improve the treatment of lung and pancreatic cancer, two of the most lethal types of tumors, and multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer. Press release

Benchling launched new integrations and features that connect data and analytics tools directly in Benchling with just a few clicks, providing scientists with a connected platform to make faster decisions and generate better insights. Scientists now have out-of-the-box integrations to leading scientific analytics tools like JMP as well as Pluto and Watershed delivering effortless push and pull of data, results, and charts between Benchling and these solutions, along with API endpoints for developers to build their own analytics integrations. Press release.  

Waters Corporation and Sartorius are collaborating to develop integrated analytical solutions for downstream biomanufacturing, expanding their joint agreement that began with upstream bioprocessing analytics. Software and hardware integrations between the Waters PATROL UltraPerformance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) Process Analysis System and the Sartorius Resolute BioSMB multi-column chromatography platform will give bioprocess engineers access to more comprehensive analytical data for downstream batch and continuous manufacturing, improving yields while reducing waste and driving down biomanufacturing costs. Press release.  

Thermo Fisher Scientific unveiled the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Astral mass spectrometer. The new Astral analyzer combines fast throughput, high sensitivity and deep proteome coverage to allow researchers worldwide to uncover proteins that previously evaded detection and make breakthrough discoveries more efficiently than ever. Researchers can use this information to identify new clinical biomarkers, reveal diseases earlier and develop new interventions for everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Press release.  

Neogap Therapeutics’s patent application for the European market is being prepared for approval through a “Notice of Allowance”. Neogap has now obtained final approval from the European Patent Office for their pioneering approach to multiplying T-cells outside the body using their EpiTCer technology and the production of tumour-specific T-cells. The patent, valid until 2038, ensures that Neogap’s EpiTCer technology is patent protected across various markets. Press release.  

Avacta Group PLC has acquired Coris Bioconcept SRL for an upfront cash consideration of £7.4 million (on a debt-free/cash-free basis and subject to customary working capital adjustments), with an earnout based on future business performance, payable in cash, of up to £3.0 million. Coris, based in Gembloux, Belgium, and established in 1996, develops, manufactures, and markets rapid diagnostic test kits, mainly lateral flow tests, for use by healthcare professionals. Coris is ISO 13485 certified and markets its products through distributors in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania. Coris’ product portfolio comprises diagnostic tests for respiratory, gastro-enteric and blood-borne pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites) and for the detection of antibiotic resistance markers. As part of this portfolio, Coris markets a COVID-19 lateral flow test. Avacta has taken the commercial decision to halt the redevelopment of its own AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test. Press release.  

Illumina announced the new PrimateAI-3D, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that predicts with unprecedented accuracy disease-causing genetic mutations in patients. The results are published in two papers in the June 2 issue of Science, detailing the training of the algorithm and its application to half a million genomes in the UK Biobank cohort. Two accompanying papers on the primate evolution research that informed the development of PrimateAI-3D also published in the journal today. Press release.  

Wheeler Bio and Charles River Laboratories announced an agreement to implement RightSourceSM at Wheeler Bio’s current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) biologics manufacturing facility in Oklahoma City, OK. Deployed on-site at a client’s facility, RightSourceSM is a flexible biologics testing lab operated and managed by Charles River, making fast, reliable quality control (QC) more accessible to a broader reach of companies like Wheeler Bio. Wheeler Bio and Charles River will work in close collaboration to set up a cGMP testing lab at Wheeler Bio’s ultra-modern Oklahoma City facility. This platform-based satellite lab will be operated by Charles River employees who will utilize Charles River’s quality management systems, test methods, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to support all QC testing needs for Wheeler Bio. Press release.  

Mission Bio announced breakthrough improvements to the Tapestri Platform and its core chemistry that enable highly confident detection of rare cells for a range of applications. With Tapestri v3 chemistry, researchers can discover tiny numbers of single cells that, until now, easily escaped detection and influenced disease in invisible ways. At the same time, drug developers can use the new capabilities for a more complete understanding of their advanced therapies, potentially leading to safer, more effective medicines. Tapestri’s new capabilities also hold promise for cell and gene therapy developers looking to improve quality assessment throughout the therapy development process. Press release.  

Speedata announced the results of a simulation of its Analytics Processing Unit (APU) on a compound similarity analysis workload in the pharmaceutical industry. Using the APU, the analysis was completed in 19 minutes, compared to 90 hours when using a CPU—a 280x faster result. Speedata's APU alleviates the main bottlenecks of data analytics, significantly improving the speed and performance when analyzing such workloads, dramatically reducing costs and increasing efficiency. The APU's unique architecture is compatible with all legacy software, allowing for seamless migration of workloads, with no changes necessary to an enterprise's code or existing framework. Press release.  

Seqera Labs has partnered with Genomics England. The new collaboration between Seqera Labs and Genomics England will enable whole genome analysis to be carried out at a larger scale with greater efficiency, helping more patients benefit from genomic healthcare and equipping researchers with extra data to find the causes of disease and develop new treatments. The partnership with Seqera Labs will scale Genomics England’s capacity to develop models for disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment response. Genomics England will deploy Seqera Labs’ Nextflow Tower, an intuitive, centralised command post that enables large-scale collaborative data analysis. With Tower, Genomics England will be able to quickly launch, manage, and monitor scalable data analysis pipelines within the cloud. Press release.  

10x Genomics announced the commercial availability of a new Visium CytAssist Gene and Protein Expression product to expand the breadth of the Visium CytAssist spatial analysis capabilities. Visium CytAssist Gene and Protein Expression enables researchers to simultaneously produce highly multiplexed protein and whole transcriptome RNA data mapped together from the same formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue section at high spatial resolution. Press release.