Friday, 1 October 2010

Detection of C. botulinum spores

The Institute of Food Research has collaborated in the development of a new method for detecting spores of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium is the major health hazard associated with refrigerated convenience foods, and these developments give the food industry and regulators more quantitative information on which to base the procedures that ensure food safety.

Gas chromatography app

Agilent Technologies Inc today announced that a GC Calculator App is now available on the App Store. The GC Calculator is a first-of-its-kind gas chromatography app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The GC pressure and flow calculator app can be used to instantly and accurately determine pressures and flows through open tubular capillary columns. The app is based on the popular PC version that has been downloaded more than 10,000 times from the Agilent website.

Optical microchip sensor system improves efficiency and QC

Stratophase, a specialist in real-time biochemical measurement, is presenting its SpectroSens technology for real-time, in-line process profiling of industrial bioprocesses at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology (EFIB 2010), 19-21 October, Edinburgh, UK.

ICR-led trial helps bring new prostate cancer drug to market

A new chemotherapy drug that The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust helped develop extends the life of men with advanced prostate cancer, according to final results of a large-scale trial published in the journal The Lancet today.

The drug cabazitaxel, developed by sanofi-aventis under the brand name Jevtana, has already been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in combination with the steroid prednisone. The decision was based largely on results from the Phase III trial jointly led by Johann de Bono from the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Stainless steel crimping tools provide reliable and secure vial closure

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today introduced the La-Pha-Pack stainless steel cleanroom crimping tools for a controlled, low-effort method of vial sealing. Available in a range of sizes, from 11 to 20 mm, the optimal crimp is provided for a variety of vial sizes.

Made entirely from stainless steel, it provides maximum durability and easily withstands dry heat sterilization or autoclaving. The product range is ideal for highly sensitive chromatography cleanroom applications where it essential that the environment remains free from any potential contaminants.

Screening collection helps identify compound that holds promise in anti-inflammatory medicine

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced that the Maybridge HitFinder screening compound collection has helped scientists at the University of Minnesota identify and characterize a small-molecule inhibitor that holds promise for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Professor David Bernlohr, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota, and his team used the HitFinder collection in studies of fatty-acid-binding protein (FABP) inhibitors. The collection was an invaluable tool in helping the team identify several strong leads – compounds that hold the potential for blocking FABP – which is part of the body’s inflammatory and metabolic response pathways. Ultimately, from this library they identified HTS01037, a pan-specific FABP inhibitor with broad anti-inflammatory properties. This study was recently published by Prof Bernlohr and his team1.

Accelerating the scientific process underlying drug discovery

Based on its recent analysis of the integrated insilico drug discovery solutions market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Accelrys Inc, with the 2010 North America Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation of the Year. The company has merited this award for its Pipeline Pilot scientific informatics platform, a solution that provides, for the first time, a suitable automated workflow system that can be integrated into the information systems used by scientists in the pharmaceuticals, life sciences and materials industries.

While Accelrys' competitors have focused on developing technologies across specialized areas of the workflow, Accelrys developed a product that can manage and synthesize information, and most importantly, create scope for incremental innovation by the customer. This could potentially be built into the product through the course of its usage, thus bringing about high-end customization of the offering.

PCR thermal cycler validation with UKAS Accreditation

If your laboratory is working to highly stringent SOPs, or is UKAS or CPA accredited, then you know that you need to be able to trust and prove that your laboratory equipment is operating to the highest standards.

For forensic and diagnostic applications complete confidence in the procedure and data obtained is essential and can only be guaranteed with regular checking of your PCR Thermal Cyclers.

License agreement for nucleation on-demand technology

SP Scientific has signed a license agreement with Praxair Inc to utilize Praxair's ControLyo nucleation on-demand technology, which provides pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with precise control over the freeze-drying process for drug developmental efforts.

Praxair's breakthrough technology was developed to specifically control the freezing step of lyophilization, a method of drying pharmaceuticals whereby the material is frozen and then warmed in a vacuum so that the ice vaporizes.

Collaboration could lead to swifter diagnosis of diseases

A link-up between a North Wales engineering company and Swansea University could lead to swifter diagnosis of diseases such as breast cancer.

The collaboration, between Porvair Filtration Group in Wrexham and the Centre for Nanohealth (CNH) at Swansea University, comes under the umbrella of XGEN, the Assembly-backed consortium of advanced manufacturing companies.

Speed chemotaxis research

TTP LabTech has today announced a high throughput solution for chemotaxis research using the Acumen eX3 microplate cytometer and the iuvo Chemotaxis Assay Plate from BellBrook Labs. Using this system, approximately four-fold time savings were achieved compared to a similar method using automated microscopy and off-line data processing.

The Acumen eX3 is a laser scanning microplate cytometer for the analysis of fluorescence in cell-based assays.

Increase process efficiency and membrane life in reverse osmosis processes

Scaling, fouling and oxidation are the natural enemies of reverse osmosis (RO) systems in water processing units—especially in the pharmaceutical industries.

Proper process monitoring and control of critical parameters, such as pH, ORP, conductivity, flow, temperature and differential pressure can provide advanced warning and protection of a scaling, fouling or chemically attacked RO element. If these early warnings are ignored, the membrane may be damaged beyond the point that chemical cleaning can restore the system back to its original operating efficiency.

Free live virtual event on clinical diagnostics

BioConference Live, a leading web destination for online-only events for the Life Science and Clinical Diagnostics markets, today announced several speakers and sponsors for the upcoming edition of BioConference Live: Clinical Diagnostics to take place Wednesday October 20th and Thursday October 21st 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EDT.

This edition of BioConference Live, which spans two days, includes presentation sessions of interest to the clinical researcher in Cancer, Cardiology, Hematology, Infectious Disease, Lab Automation, Laboratory Testing, Molecular Diagnostics and Point of Care.

Porous plastics: meeting increased demand

Porvair Filtration Group, a leader in filtration and separation technology, has announced further expansion of resources at its Ashland, VA, USA facility to cope with increased North American demand for porous plastics.

Target enrichment system focusing on expressed Kinome for biomarker discovery

Agilent Technologies Inc today introduced the SureSelect Kinome Target Enrichment Kit, enabling researchers to focus next-generation sequencing studies on expressed kinases (the kinome). Researchers increasingly are looking at human kinases as a rich, proven source of biomarkers as well as potential drug targets for cancers and other diseases.

The new assay, developed with Dr Rene Bernards of The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, targets genes for greater than 500 known kinases plus a number of cancer genes and untranslated regions.

ThromboGenics signs deal with MSD for long-term supply of Microplasmin

ThromboGenics NV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative treatments for eye disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, announces that it has signed a 10-year supply agreement with MSD Biologics (UK) Ltd, part of the Merck BioManufacturing Network, for the production of microplasmin.

ThromboGenics anticipates that this deal will meet its long-term commercial needs for bulk drug substance of this novel therapeutic agent.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Biosafety cabinet for automated tube filling in any laboratory

The Automation Partnership (TAP), a leader in the design and development of innovative automation for life science applications, today introduced its new mobile class II biological safety cabinet. The cabinet, configured specifically for the Fill-It automated tube filling system, will ensure scientists can conveniently create a safe, aseptic environment to use Fill-It in different laboratories within their facility.

BIOTECHNICA 2010: Stronger thematic tie-in between exhibition and conferences

BIOTECHNICA 2010 in Hannover will run from 5 to 7 October, with new focus topics and more wide-ranging coverage. For three days Europe’s leading trade fair for biotechnology and the life sciences will be a showcase for all the latest trends and innovations from across the world.

From macro to micro with the mini sample processor

IntegenX Inc, California, USA, has used Tecan’s Cavro Mini Sample Processor (MSP) 9250 as the basis for an automated Sanger sequencing sample preparation platform.

The Apollo 100 Sanger Sequencing Automation system uses the Cavro MSP 9250 to automate bulk liquid transfers, interfacing directly with IntergenX’s patented MOVe microfluidic technology to enable users to work with small volumes, from 10 nanolitres to 100 microlitres.

Capsule-based drug delivery at CPhI-ICSE 2010

Capsugel, a provider of dosage form solutions to the pharmaceutical and related healthcare industries, will be present its innovative drug delivery technologies at the CPhI/ICSE show in Paris, France.

Capsugel will highlight its capsule technology for use in Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) with experts on hand to discuss how its capsule design has been adapted to optimize puncturing and retraction behaviour, which can be critical in helping deliver the correct dose from a DPI. Capsugel’s experts will explain how Capsugel’s technology can be used to provide flexible and value-added dosage form solutions for challenging therapeutic applications.

Regulatory approved filtration materials

Porvair Filtration Group, an international leader in high performance filtration and separation materials and products for the pharmaceutical and life science industries will be exhibiting at the Medica/CompaMed 2010 trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Porvair will showcase regulatory approved materials, based upon its proprietary BioVyon sintered porous plastic technology, for in vitro filtration, separation, venting and wicking applications for the medical industry.

CAP cells suitable for commercial vaccine production?

CEVEC Pharmaceuticals, the developer of an extremely potent protein expression system based on human CAP cells, has announced that CAP cells produce high virus titers upon infection with influenza strains. The virus titers are as good as or even higher than with MDCK and Vero cells, host cells currently used for influenza vaccine production.

Clinical development for novel cardioprotective compound, TRO40303

Trophos SA, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics from discovery to clinical validation for indications with under-served needs in neurology and cardiology, has initiated clinical development for TRO40303, a novel mitochondria pore modulator.

Prostate cancer biomarker panel results

Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), provider of clinical genetics and diagnostic solutions to advance molecular medicine, has presented potentially highly significant, preliminary data on the development of a panel of biomarkers for the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

In the pilot study, a set of biomarkers was identified which can distinguish prostate cancer from control samples with both sensitivity and specificity above 90%, far higher than existing diagnostic tests. These data were presented at the Fourth American Association for Cancer Research International Conference: Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, in Denver on 27-30 September.

Hybrid imaging probe to diagnose skin cancer in development

The early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer is critical for patient outcomes, and a new collaboration funded by the National Institute for Health Research between researchers at King’s Health Partners and a British company hopes to improve skin cancer diagnosis.

Dermatologists and researchers from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London are working with Michelson Diagnostics Ltd to develop and test a hybrid imaging probe, combining the advantages of Michelson Diagnostics’ novel Multi-Beam OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) probe with a visual camera. The OCT and visual images from the hybrid probe will be combined to provide enhanced diagnostic information to clinicians.

KINAXO and Daiichi-Sankyo enter collaboration

KINAXO Biotechnologies GmbH and Daiichi Sankyo Company Limited entered a long-term partnership in cancer research. Under the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will employ KINAXO’s technology platform to support the development of Daiichi Sankyo’s targeted cancer drugs. This will involve KINAXO applying its proprietary chemical proteomics technologies Cellular Target Profiling and KinAffinity® as well as its phosphoproteomics technology PhosphoScout within various research programmes pursued at Daiichi Sankyo. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

High purity reagents for glycobiology and glycoanalysis

Specialist in high purity reagents for glycobiology and glycoanalysis - AMSBIO - has announced a number of new and unique kits for proteoglycan research.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are polysaccharides consisting of repeated dimers. All but hyaluronic acid (HA) possess sulfate bases, and exist in living organisms in the form of proteoglycans. Sulfated GAGs play important roles in the functions of a number of tissues.

Phase II study showed switching ACS-PCI patients on maintenance clopidogrel/aspirin to prasugrel/aspirin

In a Phase II study, Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) patients on maintenance clopidogrel/aspirin therapy who were switched to prasugrel (Efient - either 10 mg maintenance dose [MD] or 60 mg loading dose [LD] followed by 10 mg MD) plus aspirin demonstrated a statistically significant greater reduction in Maximal Platelet Aggregation (MPA) after one week when compared to patients who remained on maintenance therapy (MD) with clopidogrel.[i] <#_edn1>

The study, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated the level of platelet aggregation achieved after switching from clopidogrel 75 mg once daily MD plus aspirin, to prasugrel 10 mg once daily MD in patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Integromics appoints Dr Michael J McManus as President and CEO

Integromics, a leader in IT solutions provision for life sciences in the areas of genomics and proteomics, has selected Dr Michael J McManus as President & CEO. Dr McManus will lead the company’s efforts to expand in the world market, with a particular focus on proteomics and on further developing Integromics’ activity in the US and Asian markets.

Sneaking spies into a cell’s nucleus

Bioengineers at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA, have not only figured out a way to sneak molecular spies through the walls of individual cells, they can now slip them into the command centre - or nucleus - of those cells, where they can report back important information or drop off payloads.

Using silver nanoparticles cloaked in a protein from the HIV virus that has an uncanny ability to penetrate human cells, the scientists have demonstrated that they can enter the inner workings of the nucleus and detect subtle light signals from the “spy".

Protein key to growth of pancreatic cancer

A protein known to regulate cell proliferation and survival has been linked for the first time to pancreatic cancer, the UK’s fifth most common cause of cancer death.

The protein could provide a target to develop new treatments for the disease or enable earlier diagnosis, say the researchers from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers due to its lack of symptoms in the early stages, late diagnosis and its resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Free use of laboratory facilities up for grabs for UK businesses

Innovative companies which are developing products geared towards making a big impact in the environment, healthcare or energy sectors are being offered the chance to win free access to cutting-edge research and technology facilities to further innovate and develop their ideas.

Today STFC launches a challenge that offers any UK company or organisation researching products and services in these sectors the chance to work at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) for periods of up to six months, for free.

Enhanced point of care testing

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK has recently installed 7 new cobas b 221 blood gas analysers at Peterborough District Hospital and Peterborough Maternity Unit. 

These new systems from Roche will enable the hospitals to extend their point of care testing (POCT) capabilities to include rapid electrolytes, metabolites and bilirubin testing, in addition to blood gases.

Microbiology assay detects Listeria species in environmental samples in 8 hours

Thermo Fisher Scientific today announced that the DuPont Qualicon BAX System Reverse Transcriptase 8-hour Listeria Assay is now available alongside the Oxoid range in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The assay allows food companies to detect environmental Listeria spp. in less than 8 hours – saving more than two days on traditional detection methods and allowing problems to be swiftly identified, ultimately helping companies avoid product recalls and processing line shutdowns.

Mass spectrometer for high-performance qualitative and quantitative analysis

The AB SCIEX TripleTOF 5600 System is a high-resolution mass spectrometer for high-performance qualitative and quantitative analysis.

This system combines for the first time on a single platform the quantitative capabilities typically associated with triple quadrupoles and the qualitative capabilities of a high-resolution accurate-mass system.

GATC Biotech to sequence 100,000 human genomes by 2014

Within the next four years GATC Biotech plans to analyse 100,000 human genomes in particular for the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry as well as for academic research. This will be realised by applying Illumina’s HiSeq 2000 as well as GATC Biotech’s latest acquisition, the single molecule sequencing platform PacBio RS.

Microcentrifuge keeps it compact and quiet

The SCF2 Microcentrifuge from Stuart fits a versatile set of features into a compact, easy-to-use design. Offering quiet operation, the SCF2 is a variable speed unit accommodating either a fixed angle rotor holding 12 tubes or a strip tube rotor.

As well as pelleting of precipitates, applications include processes involving spin column kits for binding/washing, such as sample preparation, sample clean up and sample concentration.

Software for simplified bioanalytical workflows

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced the launch of a new online demonstration of its TSQ Module software for Watson laboratory information management system (LIMS). This industry-first integration of LIMS and instrument control software coupled with the Thermo Scientific TSQ series LC-MS/MS system is designed to significantly increase efficiency by enabling data from the entire bioanalytical workflow to reside in a single database.

The combination is also designed to provide increased regulatory control by managing the workflow from beginning to end with data review, processing, reporting and archiving all under the control of Thermo Scientific Watson LIMS.

Horizon Discovery closes £6.25M Series C Financing

Horizon Discovery (Horizon), a translational genomics and personalized medicine company, announced today that it has closed a £6.25M Series C financing led by top-tier European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit. The Company has also announced two appointments to the Board of Directors; Dr Nigel Pitchford, Partner at DFJ Esprit, as Investor Director, and Mr David Evans as a Non-Executive Director.

The funds will enable Horizon to further improve its core GENESIS and X-MAN technology platforms, address new markets, and begin to target therapeutics markets outside of its historical cancer-focus.

Mucosis BV and PATH to pursue Mimopath-based oral diarrhea vaccines

Dutch biotechnology company Mucosis BV announced today that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with the global health nonprofit organization PATH to pursue the use of the company’s Mimopath technology in oral vaccines to prevent and treat severe diarrhea.

Severe dehydrating diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children in developing countries and frequently causes disease in travelers visiting those areas. Shigella and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) are the leading bacterial causes of diarrhea. Currently, no vaccines against those bacteria exist. PATH supports the development of Shigella and ETEC vaccines.

Optimised E.coli strain expresses insoluble proteins in soluble form

AMSBIO has announced Solu BL21 Competent E. coli, a significantly improved BL21 host strain for soluble mammalian protein expression.

Using a directed evolution approach, a mutant strain of BL21(DE3) E. coli has been developed that can produce soluble protein in the majority of cases where expression in the parent BL21(DE3) yielded no detectable soluble product.

Lab automation and workflow

Agilent Automation Solutions has produced a guide to choosing the right automation instruments or instruments for your Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) workflow.

Next generation sequencing has revolutionized genomics, enabling entire genomes to be sequenced more efficiently than ever before. However, the typical NGS workflow is less revolutionary, with numerous manual steps and challenges that include cost, throughput, and variability.

Galapagos starts Phase II Clinical Trial in rheumatoid arthritis patients

Galapagos NV has started a Phase II clinical study for the company’s flagship program GLPG0259, a novel drug being developed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this clinical trial, the safety and efficacy of this novel candidate drug will be tested in RA patients. Galapagos plans to announce interim results by the middle of next year and complete the trial by the end of 2011.

Analyzing water samples

New technology from GE will make it easier for the pharmaceutical industry to monitor and analyze water samples. The enhanced GE CheckPoint Pharma On-Line/Portable Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Sensor is a cost-effective instrument typically mounted and used online for continuous monitoring. Measuring the levels of TOC in the water is an important step for pharmaceutical companies to control processes that are critical to their operations and to comply with regulations.

Monday, 27 September 2010

First complete freeze-dried HLA PCR kit

UK-based molecular diagnostics company Biofortuna Limited has unveiled the world’s first complete freeze-dried HLA PCR kit in a move which the company says will transform the transplantation market.

The firm, led by HLA molecular immunologist Dr Mike Bunce, is changing clinical testing methods with its proprietary freeze-dried SSP Go technology.

Anaerobic system sets standards for wastewater treatment at biotechnology site

The pharmaceutical company Roche Diagnostics has decided to build a new anaerobic plant for the biological pre-treatment of a partial wastewater flow at the Penzberg site in Upper Bavaria. The plant, which produces energy-rich biogas, will supplement an existing membrane bioreactor system. The new anaerobic plant will be built by Aquantis, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies.

The new system is to pre-treat partial wastewater flows especially rich in carbon as well as biologically degradable liquid waste from the bio-technological production.

Flexibility in laboratory monitoring

Monitoring the storage and security of precious and vulnerable samples is an essential part of Good Laboratory Practice, often requiring a solution unique to the individual laboratory. IKS International has developed two new communications modules to make their market-leading Xiltrix monitoring system even more flexible, reliable and easier to install.

The new multifunctional Calypso module provides the central link between the controlling webserver and the monitoring system.

New research into TB testing

Two UK companies have been awarded joint funding for a research project that could see significant advances in the quest to aid detection and eradication of Tuberculosis (TB), across the world.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Orla Protein Technologies (Orla) have been awarded £91,000 by the Technology Strategy Board to investigate improved methods for the detection of TB.

Reducing pipetting stress

The repetitition and forces exerted when using a traditional pipette mean many researchers suffer from tired hands, leading to reduced pipetting accuracy, decreased productivity and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). There is however, a solution that greatly improves your pipetting comfort and performance without costing you anymore than your current pipetting system.

Medgenics announces successful closing of $4m convertible debenture issue

Medgenics, the company that has developed a novel technology for the manufacture and delivery of therapeutic proteins continuously in patients using their own tissue, has successfully raised additional funds to finance further advances with its Phase I/II clinical trial for its product EPODURE (for the treatment of anaemia).

Lightweight respirators

UK-based manufacturer Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd (HISL) has announced the launch of a new lightweight air fed respirator to complement its existing lightweight powered air products.

The Pureflo PF21-ABS-P launch follows an array of recent developments from HISL across their range of respiratory products for industrial applications, including a new quick release headband for all its respiratory units.

€1.5m grant to acclerate pre-clinical antibody development

arGEN-X BV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic human antibodies (mAbs), today announced that it has received a €1.5 million grant from the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT). This grant will be used to accelerate pre-clinical development of the lead program, ARGX-109 and two further therapeutic mAb programs. All three mAb candidates originated from arGEN-X’s proprietary SIMPLE Antibody™ platform and are being developed by the Company to target the inflammation/oncology space.

ARTES steps further into vaccine business by Acquiring Anavax

ARTES Biotechnology announces today the acquirement of the ANAVAX virus-like particle (VLP) technology from Select Vaccines Ltd. ANAVAX is a patent-protected VLP technology that can be applied to the prevention of several infectious diseases.

With the combination of two excellent technology platforms, ANAVAX and the Hansenula expression system, ARTES has positioned itself as a partner for the vaccine industry.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Redesigned miniature valve for laboratory, analysis applications

Isolated miniature solenoid valves (IMSV) that provide maximum power from a minimum sized envelope are the current demand of original equipment  manufacturers (OEMs) in the field of laboratory and analysis technology, and also medical engineering.

In clinical diagnostics, flow-rate and reliability are essential, while cleanliness is given top priority. In automated analytics, standard procedures such as titration, defined sampling and the precise dosage of reagents, based on integrated fluid control systems, require pinpoint precision and repeatability. In addition, manufacturers and users, when opting for a certain type of IMSV, also consider cost, wetted material type, cleanability, dosage capacity and flushing characteristics of the valve.