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On the cutting edge
December 2018
by Mel J. Yeates  |  Email the author
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SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Beginning this month’s tools and technology roundup is news from Agilent Technologies Inc., which has introduced the Cary 3500 UV-Vis system, recently showcased at the analytica China trade fair in Shanghai. The Cary 3500 UV-Vis system is an innovative spectrophotometer designed to help life-science, pharma and biopharma research communities simplify their analyses, optimize laboratory productivity and help bring new therapeutics to market faster.
 
“The Agilent Cary 3500 provides a critical tool that allows laboratories to do this more quickly and accurately than is currently possible,” said Phil Binns, general manager of Agilent’s Spectroscopy division. “Our spectroscopy unit drew upon 70 years of insight and customer collaborations to create a faster, more robust system—with a lower cost of ownership.”
 
Binns noted that the Cary 3500 represents the first significant advancement in UV-Vis architecture in decades. The new system can run multiple experiments simultaneously, allowing labs to obtain more results in the same amount of time—and it also extends the opportunity to design experiments in ways that have not been possible before.
 
The Cary 3500 harnesses the power of a state-of-the-art software platform and a fast and powerful Xenon flash lamp that is redefining UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The system’s rapid, accurate temperature control permits temperature experiments at ramp rates previously thought unattainable, providing more reliable and robust measurements.
 
Agilent also announced the introduction of Agilent OnePGT, a genome-wide next-generation sequencing (NGS) solution for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). OnePGT allows parallel detection of multiple monogenic disorders (PGT-M), translocations (PGT-SR) and aneuploidies (PGT-A) on a single biopsy.
 
OnePGT guides the laboratory from biopsy material to a single comprehensive report in a matter of days. Empowered by Agilent’s Alissa platform, data analysis is streamlined by the optimized and verified pipelines, allowing automatic calling of genetic abnormalities with built-in quality control metrics and audit trail. This innovative solution provides fertility specialists with the ability to more easily achieve comprehensive PGT data in which to support enhanced embryo ranking, identifying the best quality embryos for transfer.
 
“By providing highly accurate and comprehensive genetic data, OnePGT enables fertility specialists, and the couples they assist, to make better-informed decisions on embryo ranking and selection—thereby increasing the chances of having a successful and healthy pregnancy,” said Kamni Vijay, vice president, and general manager, Agilent Genomics Division.
 
Vijay also pointed out that for labs currently performing only one type of test, OnePGT provides them the opportunity to expand their offerings in this growing market without significantly increasing the lab’s footprint or resources.
 
And now, we’ll move on to some other companies and their recent news of interesting software, technology and services to aid life sciences and research.
 

AMSBIO expands FFPE cancer cell line controls
 
MILTON, England—AMSBIO has expanded its range of high-quality FFPE (fixed formalin paraffin embedded) cancer cell line controls for immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization and next-generation sequencing applications. Variations in FFPE tissue sample quality and experimental setup can lead to misleading results without reliable controls. Traditional cell or tissue-based control specimens often present intra specimen variation, lot-to-lot variations and inconsistent biomolecule quality, driving a need for higher quality controls.
 
CellMax FFPE cell line products are said to be affordable and consistent controls manufactured using a patent-pending process that maintains cell morphology and preserves nucleic acids and proteins. Cells are harvested by a proprietary trypsin-free method, preserving cell surface antigens and inflicting minimal physical damage that could lead to a loss of biomarkers.
 
With over 100 tumor cell lines from major cancer types, controls are available in a variety of formats, including whole blocks, arrays and scrolls that can be tailor-made to suit your workflow. These cell line controls exhibit highly consistent density and homogeneity across the entire cell pellet slide and throughout a whole block, ensuring accurate results time after time. The CellMax FFPE range of cancer cell line standards present a renewable source of positive and negative controls for assay development and routine analysis.
 

A new next-generation electronic batch record execution platform
 
BASEL, Switzerland—Lonza recently unveiled its next-generation electronic batch record execution platform, the MODA-ES Software Platform. The new platform offers a flexible and cost-effective solution for consolidating and managing batch and quality data produced across cell and gene therapy manufacturing processes.
 
The MODA-ES Software Platform has been designed to consolidate all cell and gene therapy manufacturing batch data, as well as batch-related quality control data, into a single record with an easy-to-use review and approval interface for expedited product release. With data integrity compliance and traceability at its core, the software reportedly captures trends key quality and performance metrics, while eliminating errors associated with manual and paper-based approaches. Lonza says the platform is flexible, easy to configure and scalable from clinical through to commercial production.
 
“The MODA-ES Electronic Batch Record Execution Platform brings to cell and gene therapy manufacturers the flexibility and informatics tools they desire to scale their processes without compromising safety or compliance,” said Mike Goetter, general manager of informatics at Lonza Pharma & Biotech—Bioscience Solutions. “Built on Lonza’s unique manufacturing and quality control expertise and with a low total cost of ownership, the platform will enable the entire cell and gene therapy development and production industry to go paperless.”
 

Poietis launches 4D Bioprinting systems
 
PESSAC, France—In late October, Poietis introduced one of its NGB 4D bioprinters at the International Congress on Biofabrication in Würzburg. Poietis says they want to establish a new standard in living tissue manufacturing by enabling users, researchers and clinicians to design and bioprint tissues with cellular resolution, and provide new bioprinting solutions covering all needs from research in biology and bioengineering to the production of clinical batches.
 
Largely inspired by the principles of the 4.0 Industry, the NGB 4D platform integrates automation and robotics technologies, coupled with numerous online sensors—including cell microscopy—and artificial intelligence processing. It also integrates all bioprinting techniques (laser, extrusion, inkjet by micro-valve), reportedly a world first in the bioprinting market.
 
Poietis plans to bring its 4D bioprinting platform into two systems based on the same core technology: NGB-R, a bioprinter marketed currently for research in biology and tissue engineering, and NGB-C, a clinical version intended to meet the future needs of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products production and the requirements of Poietis’ partners.
 
“We have upgraded the NGB platform to an automated robotic system to improve the standardization of manufacturing processes and the functionality of biological tissues,” said Fabien Guillemot, president and chief scientific officer of Poietis. “The combination of multimodal bioprinting with the acquisition and the online processing of printed cell images at cellular resolution will also ensure that what we design is what we print.”
 

ImmunoPrism Immune Profiling Kit analyzes tumor composition
 
SAN FRANCISCO—Cofactor Genomics has created an RNA-based immune profiling kit for laboratories wishing to derive the immune composition of tumor samples. The launch of the kit follows ImmunoPrism announcements on collaborations with The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the National Cancer Institute, and the clinical accreditation of the assay by the College of American Pathologists within Cofactor’s CAP/CLIA lab.
 
“The recent advancements in immunotherapies have resulted in more than 500 drug and combination clinical trials—significantly more trials than there are patients to fill them. Improved tools are needed to provide immune profiling of our tumors, with the goal to ultimately match the right patients with the right trials,” said Dr. Scott Kopetz of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine Division, at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
 
The tumor’s immune composition is proving to be a valuable indicator of response to current immunotherapies and the numerous drugs in development. Using the ImmunoPrism Immune Profiling Kit, laboratories now have access to the same kit Cofactor Genomics uses to prep, sequence and analyze against Cofactor’s database of machine-learning optimized immune reference expression models.
 
“Cofactor Genomics’ ImmunoPrism kit provides scientists access to Cofactor’s innovation in RNA-based molecular immune profiling. These are not single gene measurements to generate ambiguous estimates of enrichment—these are quantitative measures of specific immune cells in the sampled tumor microenvironment derived from Cofactor’s database of reference immune expression models,” said Dr. Jarret Glasscock, founder and CEO. “Our team’s decades of leadership in RNA profiling underscore Cofactor’s commitment to improving human health through the science of RNA.”
 
Code: E121829

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