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On the cutting edge
A scientific product supplier expands and a laboratory instruments, software, services, and consumables provider collaborates with a medical school. A companion diagnostic gets shown around a medical oncology conference and a life-sciences tool company for drug discovery announces an important new customer. That and more in this month’s roundup of the tech that keeps drug discovery and development moving forward.
Herolab opens new U.K. base
WIESLOCH, Germany—Herolab GmbH Laborgeräte, which manufactures products for life-sciences research, diagnostics and production, has opened a U.K.-based office. This new office in Cambridge has been opened to help service the growing number of users in the United Kingdom and well as offering sales and support for a number of International dealers and customers.
This expansion coincides with the company recently being awarded the German Stifterverband seal, which is only given to those companies who can show new discoveries and who can create innovative solutions.
Herolab produces products for a number of sectors in the scientific market. The company’s centrifuge division, for example, offers high-speed models from universal benchtop centrifuges, under-bench models, floor-standing centrifuges on rollers and extra-large centrifuges up to 6 x 1000 ml volume. A wide choice of Herolab-manufactured centrifuge tubes and bottles using different high-quality plastics is available for all centrifuges in the range and other brands. Additionally, Herolab can produce plastic labware for specific customer requests. The company’s gel documentation division has a number of different models for chemiluminescence and fluorescence applications for the imaging of gels and blots. The Herolab UV products division range includes PCR workstations, UV radiation systems for crosslinking or tissue culture studies, transilluminators, germicidal lamps and UV hand lamps/analysis lamps.
Herolab also recently launched the Hi Cen GR to add to its range of centrifuges and accessories.
This large-volume floor-standing refrigerated centrifuge has a maximum capacity of 4 x 1000ml and can be used with swing-out or angle rotors. Its speed of up to 18,000 rpm and g-force of 36.223 x g puts this model at the high end of performance levels.
Agilent collaborates with Weill Cornell to advance research in ALS
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Agilent Technologies Inc. recently announced it is collaborating with Dr. Steven Gross, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, to advance research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Agilent will provide the latest mass spectrometry technology to support his research, working toward an understanding of how the most common form of this disease develops in the body.
The Agilent 6230B LC TOF and 6550A LC Q-TOF mass spectrometers will be housed in the Gross’ laboratory—his expertise is in pharmacology and cell biology, particularly in relation to the role of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule. Gross, along with Dr. Qiuying Chen, an assistant research professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell, and Ben Schwartz, a student in the pharmacology doctoral program at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, is studying the most common form of ALS, sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which accounts for about 90 percent of all ALS cases and has no obvious genetic driver.
“Translational research using a combination of biological disciplines—genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics—is an emerging trend in academia,” said Steven Fischer, market director for life-science research in academia and government at Agilent. “Most researchers, however, do not know how to perform multi-omic analysis, and successful examples are needed. Agilent is working with the Gross lab at Weill Cornell to advance the multi-omics-based approach to disease research, using sporadic ALS to demonstrate the power of this method.”
“Our newly established scientific collaboration offers a rare opportunity to obtain and integrate multi-omics data, with the potential to yield an unprecedented understanding of the molecular basis for this devastating disease,” Gross noted. “We anticipate that this scientific work with Agilent will continue into the future as we apply multi-omics approaches to other poorly understood diseases with unmet clinical needs.”
Myriad presents new data on its companion diagnostic and prostate cancer tests
SALT LAKE CITY—Myriad Genetics Inc. in September announced three poster presentations being featured at the 40th European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting in Vienna, Austria. The presentations include new studies on the myChoice HRD and Tumor BRACAnalysis CDx companion diagnostic tests and final results from the EMPATHY-P clinical utility study on Prolaris.
“Myriad continues to place a strong emphasis on molecular diagnostic research with the goal of enabling personalized medicine and improving patient outcomes. We are presenting exciting new data on the unique ability of our companion diagnostics to identify the highest number of patients who may benefit from drugs that target the DNA-repair pathway, such as PARP inhibitors,” said Dr. Jerry Lanchbury, chief scientific officer of Myriad. “We’re also presenting the final results for the EMPATHY-P study that show the Prolaris test provides essential clinical information to help physicians select men with prostate cancer who are good candidates for active surveillance versus those who need more medical treatment based on a genetic evaluation of their tumor.”
BiOptix announces partnership with XTAL BioStructures
BOULDER, Colo.—BiOptix, a life-sciences tools company that provides what it calls “an affordable and powerful solution for drug discovery scientists that require label-free, real-time detection of biomolecular interactions,” announces that Natick, Mass.-based XTAL BioStructures Inc., a pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries service provider, is adding the BiOptix 404pi to its suite of biophysical tools.
XTAL BioStructures is a contract research organization that provides drug discovery and intellectual property development services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including high-quality protein production, biophysical characterization and X-ray crystallography with a focus on affinity-based screening techniques.
“This partnership will further XTAL’s dedication to providing high-quality research services through the availability of the BiOptix Enhanced Surface Plasmon Resonance (e-SPR) technology, an advanced and highly sensitive optical technology,” said Dr. Robert K. Suto, president and chief scientific officer of XTAL BioStructures.
XTAL is now able to offer customers access to BiOptix’s patented e-SPR technology, which delivers high sensitivity (100 Da) and higher throughput by combining proprietary technology with an advanced, multi-injector fluidics system.
“With the addition of the BiOptix 404pi label-free system to their existing suite of biophysical tools, both companies can now work together to assist those customers who need both biophysical assessment and real-time, label-free interaction analysis to move their drug discovery projects forward,” said Rick Whitcomb, president and CEO of BiOptix.
Oracle gets busy
REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.—Oracle has made a number of announcements recently about new customers in the life-sciences sector. In July, it noted that Kowa Company Ltd., a Japanese pharmaceutical company with affiliates in North America, Asia and Europe, has migrated to Oracle Argus Cloud Service Global and Oracle Argus Cloud Japan, which are expected to help Kowa manage compliance with the increasingly complex regulatory requirements and reduce its overall pharmacovigilance IT spending.
Further, on Sept. 29, Oracle noted that emerging biopharmaceutical organizations face a growing number of regulatory requirements and, due to increased competition, acute pressure to speed time to market, following that with an announcement that 93 such emerging biopharma organizations worldwide have become new customers in the past year, adopting Oracle Health Sciences solutions.
Late September saw a more focused and specific announcement as well, that LSK Global Pharma Services, a full-service contract research organization in South Korea, had adopted cloud-based Oracle Health Sciences InForm to improve its clinical development processes, streamline data capture and speed up trial timelines.
G:BOX Chemi XRQ used to study mechanisms of cardiac myocyte function
FREDERICK, Md.—Syngene, a global manufacturer of image analysis solutions, noted recently that the G:BOX Chemi XRQ high-resolution, multiapplication image analysis system is being successfully used at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Academy of Medicine to study molecular mechanisms of cardiac stem cell function that could help in developing stem cell therapies for heart repair.
Researchers in the Laboratory of Cell Culture at the university are using the G:BOX Chemi XRQ system to image and analyze proteins on chemiluminescent western blots and DNA gels stained with SYBR Safe dyes. The image analysis data is being used to investigate the effects that genetic modification have on how stem cells differentiate into cardiac myocytes and integrate into cardiac tissue.
Dr. Ieva Antanaviciute, a research scientist at the Laboratory of Cell Culture stated: “Our lab is focused on gap junction-mediated intercellular communication. We study expression of gap junction proteins (connexins) under different environmental conditions in model cell lines (HeLa) also skeletal myoblast. To analyze our results, we need an imager that can perform well with DNA gels as well as chemiluminescent western blots. We reviewed a range of imaging systems because we wanted to get the best value for our money. The price and service are what attracted us to the G:BOX Chemi XRQ, as the system generated good, publication-quality images and we have the opportunity to upgrade with different filters. This is excellent for our lab, as in the future we may want to analyze florescent western blots. “
Raising the bar with Chemi FP western blot substrate?
SAN FRANCISCO—Gel Company/Aplegen recently announced “its most sensitive HRP substrate for western blotting yet,” a chemiluminescent product that joins the company’s extensive range of more than 800 reagents and consumables for life-sciences researchers.
Chemi FP reportedly has attomole sensitivity and a very long- lasting signal output. The light emission is stable for 10 times longer than with typical ECL substrates. This now enables the user to detect bands not usually visualized with other substrates that are commonly used. Importantly, the high signal-to-noise level and large dynamic range of the product makes it ideal for quantifying low-intensity bands, the company maintains, and the chemilfluorescence emission allows the Chemi FP to be imaged using chemifluorescence imaging techniques in addition to traditional CCD imaging systems and film.