Friday, 19 November 2010

Generator provides zero nitrogen and zero air from single system

Peak Scientific's Fusion 1010 is a generator that provides both Zero Nitrogen and Zero Air from a single system.

Its features include a ‘Rapid Restart’ function that allows the Fusion 1010 to be operational again after a power cut in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to re- start a high purity system. This saves laboratory professionals precious time after power cuts, which can be an everyday occurrence in countries where supply is erratic. So ‘down time’ is greatly reduced and productivity and critical analysis functions are maintained.

Webinar: Simplifying targeted protein quantification with mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry (MS), especially selected reaction monitoring/multiple reaction monitoring (SRM/MRM), has become routine for proteomics, metabolomics, and biomarker validation. SRM and MRM assays conducted on triple quadrupole instruments can be coupled to liquid chromatography (LC) for analysis of complex proteome digests.

For successful execution of SRM/MRM experiments several factors require consideration. These include ready access to appropriate parameters such as peptide choice and transition choice, reproducible and specific sample preparation setup, and optimal use of the mass spectrometer to achieve the highest sensitivity possible.

SRM Atlas, an informatics resource, facilitates setup of SRM/MRM quantification assays of targeted proteins by providing access to these parameters. Created by ordering more than 150,000 synthetic peptides based on 20,300 proteins, the resource generated high-resolution accurate mass spectra on Q-TOF LC/MS systems to create MS/MS profiles for peptide library searching and fragmentation data for the SRM Atlas.

Entologi acquires life science automation company RTS Life Science

UK engineering group, Entologi, is to buy leading life science automation company, RTS Life Science. The former PLC has had difficulty attracting shareholder interest over the past few years but, moving forward, retains valuable intellectual property and has an enviable client list within the pharmaceutical sector which forms its core market.

Pharmaceutical transport: ensuring perfect environmental conditions

Novel datalogging technology is helping the UK's best known refrigerated transport company to assure customers in the pharmaceutical industries that their products are being stored and transported in perfect environmental conditions.

Chichester-based Gemini Data Loggers first supplied Igloo Thermo-Logistics with its small battery powered Tinytag loggers over four years ago. Since that time Igloo has employed over 40 of the loggers to record temperature within refrigerated vehicles, providing evidence that Igloo is conforming to the requirements of the company's pharmaceutical and food industry customers.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Oligo manufacturer standardizes on Ultravap for sample preparation

Porvair Sciences Ltd has announced that a leading manufacturer of ready-made oligonucleotides, with bases in both North America and Europe, has standardized on their Ultravap Blowdown Station for careful drying of their production samples.

Steve Knight - Sales & Marketing Manager at Porvair commented: "This important life science customer has invested in 5 Ultravap systems in the USA with 2 more on order and two to date installed in Europe". He added "Controllable gentle dry down which does not heat or harm samples is important when preparing biological samples. For this customer looking to integrate a sample drying system into their production environment - the ability of the Ultravap to also automate dry down and store regularly-used protocols was critical".

Kits for improved nucleic acid recovery from FFPE samples

AMSBIO has announced new kits for the isolation of high quality RNA from Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) tissues and LCM samples that can be applied both to qRT-PCR and a variety of microarray platforms.

When working with stored materials, researchers often need to isolate RNA from samples that have been stored as FFPE tissue blocks. These FFPE tissues are a valuable source of information for retrospective research. Although the tissue structure of FFPE samples will have been maintained for histological analysis, damage to the nucleic acid may have occurred through the fixation, embedding, and storage processes impeding measurements of gene expression levels. The degree of RNA fragmentation that typically has already occurred in FFPE tissues cannot be reversed, so researchers are faced with the challenge of optimizing RNA gene expression analysis protocols when working with these samples.

Qlucore elects chairman, a board member and recruits

Qlucore, a leader in the development of bioinformatics software, has announced that it is continuing to expand its team with a new Chairman, a new Board member and two new recruits.

The newly-elected Chairman is Gunnar Hesse, previously CEO for the Nordic sector of Unisys. The new Board member is Charlotte Edenius who has extensive experience with both small and large pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and Orexo, and the new recruits join the Marketing and Development teams.

Freedom EVO liquid handling platform with Adaptive Focused Acoustics

Tecan is collaborating with Covaris Inc, a company providing advanced sample preparation solutions for life and analytical science, to co–promote the Freedom EVO liquid handling platform with integrated Adaptive Focused Acoustics (AFA). This co-marketing agreement will allow customers to benefit from both the advanced capabilities of Tecan’s Freedom EVO systems and Covaris’ controlled non-contact acoustic sample preparation technology.

Covaris’ AFA systems have already been integrated into the Freedom EVO platform for several applications, and this joint offering will now be available to customers worldwide for sample preparation, compound management and next generation sequencing applications.

Scientists find genes that make brain tumours resistant to treatment

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have pinpointed two genes that can predict whether patients with a deadly brain tumour will respond to the gold standard treatment, according to a study published this week in Cancer Research.

Scientists have previously found another gene linked to resistance to the drug Temozolomide, but it could not explain all patients’ failure to respond. This study - supported by funding from Cancer Research UK, The Oak Foundation and La Fondation de France -identifies two new genes and the biological mechanism that can lead to drug resistance for glioblastoma patients.

Genetic testing prevents disease

Astra Biotech’s philosophy is that it is far better to be able to prevent a disease or to treat it with a view to reducing its effects rather than to start treatment when the disease has already progressed considerably.

The company have developed genetic tests to identify predisposition to major diseases such as osteoporosis and thrombosis so that early treatment will minimise the associated risks with these major disorders which affect a high percentage of the world’s population.

Preventative maintenance for cell counters

The Automation Partnership (TAP), a leader in the design and development of innovative automation for life science applications, today introduced a new service from its global service and support arm. Alongside support for their own TAP systems, TAP’s team of experienced service engineers will offer maintenance contracts and preventative maintenance (PM) visits for standalone Cedex cell counters, as well as those integrated into TAP systems, guaranteeing optimum system performance.

Underlying mechanisms of neuronal cell metabolism and death

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, announces today that Trophos and partners in the European Union funded MitoTarget consortium presented four posters at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Meeting, 13th – 17th November, in San Diego, USA. The data presented demonstrate the potential for treating a range of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease by targeting mitochondrial dysfunction and also focused on mechanisms involved in neuronal metabolism and death.

Assembly and packaging deal for 3D cell culture plates

Reinnervate today announced the appointment of Classic Industries Europe for the commercial assembly and packaging of alvetex plates for 3D cell culture applications. Reinnervate is currently gearing up for the first launch of alvetex at the Cell-Based Assay conference in London on 22-23 November 2010.

Under the terms of the agreement, reinnervate will continue to manufacture alvetex at its new purpose-built research and production facility at NETPark near Sedgefield, UK. The final product will be assembled by Classic Industries Europe at its GMP production facility in nearby Barnard Castle then blister packed and sterilised in preparation for distribution and sale. Classic Industries Europe has been operating in County Durham for over 20 years and forms part of the US-headquartered Classic Industries Inc., a leading supplier of plastic components to the medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries worldwide.

Pharmacogenetic diagnostic test kit launched

Luminex Corporation has commercially launched its first pharmacogenetic test, the xTAG CYP2D6 Kit, which recently received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new test enables a personalized medicine approach to help physicians manage patients for whom they may prescribe certain drugs that are metabolized by the enzyme cytochrome P450 2D6.

“The xTAG CYP2D6 Kit will be an important tool in the fast-growing field of personalized medicine,” said Patrick J Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex. “The first innovation in CYP2D6 diagnostics in five years, it combines the power of multiplexing with the promise of pharmacogenetics. The information it provides has significant potential to help doctors improve care by assisting them in determining the best therapeutic strategy for an individual patient.”

New pharmaceutical packaging production in Argentina

SCHOTT’s Pharmaceutical Packaging business unit has inaugurated a new production site for pharmaceutical ampoules and vials in Buenos Aires. The motto of the inauguration ceremony was “Confidence – Technology – Innovation”. Around 200 representatives of South American pharmaceutical companies, politicians from the Buenos Aires region and the German ambassador to Argentina, Günter Kniess, took part in the event.

“With this new, modern plant, we are further expanding our position as the leading supplier to the pharmaceutical industry in South America. At the same time we are systematically continuing our global growth strategy in the important core business of pharmaceutical packaging,” explained Professor Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Management Board of SCHOTT AG, at the plant inauguration.

Study evaluates prostate screening for higher-risk men

A new study will determine whether existing genetic tests and family history profiling can be used to find men at higher risk of prostate cancer, so they can be targeted for screening.

The PROFILE study follows years of research into prostate cancer risk factors, including the discovery of 31 genetic variants that predispose to the disease, and the recognition that family history substantially increases men’s chances of developing the disease.

The research team, led by Professor Ros Eeles from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, will compare rates of prostate cancer diagnosis between men considered to be at high and low genetic risk. Professor Eeles is working in collaboration with Professor David Neal at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute and Professor Freddie Hamdy at the University of Oxford.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Calibration validation carousels streamline performance verification

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inctoday announced the launch of its new Calibration Validation Carousel (CVC) accessories for the Evolution series UV-Visible spectrophotometers enabling automated performance verification and adherence to pharmaceutical guidelines.

Automated performance verification saves significant time and money by reducing the amount of hands-on time required to complete instrument qualification and testing. Operator hands-on time is reduced to only a few minutes; dramatically improving productivity. All of the Thermo Scientific CVC accessories automate testing for wavelength accuracy andreproducibility, photometric accuracy, resolution, stray light, photometric noise and baseline flatness in accordance with US or European pharmacopeia and GxP procedures.

The CVC has specific features to increase accuracy and reduce operation time. Each CVC is supplied with its own unique serial number matched to a data file containing the calibrated value of the standards and the instrument specifications. This feature reduces the potential for
transcription and calculation errors by eliminating the need to copy standard values, perform and validate calculations and analyze performance test data. To perform testing with a CVC, the user simply selects the desired tests from a software menu, presses the test button to run them and returns to collect the results when the tests are complete. Thermo Scientific software generates a full report, which can be signed electronically and printed for insertion into the user's compliance log book.

Thermo Scientific CVCs are available in USP- or EP- configurations for pharmacopeia compliance. A standard configuration CVC is also available for routine analysis and general instrument performance verification testing.

All configurations of the CVC are compatible with the Evolution 201, 220 or 260 Bio, Evolution 300 and Evolution 600 UV-Visible spectrophotometers.

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Support materials for all laboratory scientists

Anachem has further developed its on-line literature section at This extended and updated resource gives you easy access to an abundance of up-to-date and relevant information on laboratory products and issues.

Lost your pipette user guide? Not sure which tips to use with your pipette? Now you can download all the Rainin Pipette User Guides and Tip Compatibility tables directly from the User Manual & Specifications Section. Laboratory Ergonomics is an issue which affects all scientists and a dedicated area provides extensive information on how to protect yourself from RSI, correct techniques and choosing the right pipette for your needs.

References from peers are always a good way to help validate the use of new products. New to the Literature area is the Publications Section where you can read about current research that has been carried out using Anachem products such as the KAPA Biosystems PCR enzymes and kits.

Centrifuge tubes deliver high quality and increased speed capability

Sterilin has launched an extended range of sterile polypropylene centrifuge tubes
Sterilin has launched a new, extended range of sterile polypropylene centrifuge tubes that offers increased speed capability of up to 12,000 x g. The high quality standard range is suitable for a wide range of general laboratory applications and the premium range, which is certified free from DNase/RNase/human DNA and non-pyrogenic to 0.5EU/ml, is ideal for the demanding requirements of molecular biology and clinical laboratories.

The standard range of Sterilin Centrifuge Tubes is manufactured from high clarity polypropylene to ensure excellent transparency and chemical resistance. Available in 15ml or 50ml volumes, they have clearly printed graduations and a writing panel for ease of use. Both volumes are available with a conical base, which offers a high rcf value of 12,000 x g, but the 50ml standard tube is also available as a self standing, flat-bottomed tube, which offers an rcf value of 6,000 x g. They are supplied in cases of 500 tubes, containing re-sealable inner packs of 25 for convenient and secure storage of unused tubes. Alternatively, the conical based tubes can be supplied in recyclable cardboard racks, which offer excellent upright support and can be recycled with regular paper and cardboard waste.

All Sterilin centrifuge tubes offer leak-free performance and are gamma irradiated to ensure sterility; this partnered with certified assurance of RNase, DNase, human DNA free and of being non – pyrogenic, allows them to be used with confidence for even the most sensitive tests and experiments.

Sterilin Centrifuge Tubes

DNA barcode professor honoured with doctorate

A professor who helped launch the DNA ‘barcode of life’ – a huge project cataloguing every species on earth – has been named an Honorary Doctor of Science by Kingston University in South West London.

Professor Richard Lane, Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, said the database, which will ultimately allow experts and non-experts to identify species in the field, possibly using a hand-held computer, reflected his passion for opening up scientific knowledge to as wide an audience as possible. “It’s risky and controversial to some people because they think it replaces a traditional way of distinguishing species based on experience and knowledge. We say it doesn’t do that – it gives access any time, anywhere to a much bigger group of people from individuals to international regulatory bodies,” he said. “It means you’ll be able to identify an organism without having to be an expert.”

Touch panel PC for medical equipment OEMs

At the Medica 2010 trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany, Kontron introduced the fanless Kontron Medi Client IIA, an compact and long-term available Medical Panel PC with 10.4 inch or 15 inch touch screen. It is specifically designed as a human machine interface (HMI) for medial appliances or as an all-in-one workstation equipped with medical device interfaces.

The 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor N270, enables the Medical Panel PC to achieve significantly higher performance and lower power consumption compared to the performance of previous processor versions. OEMs and system integrators will benefit from improved graphics performance and lower heat dissipation. Furthermore, with no rotating storage media, the fanless Kontron Medi Client IIA operates silently; ideal for surroundings close to patients.

GATC Biotech opens third sequencing laboratory in Europe

GATC Biotech’s new sequencing laboratory will be its second in Germany and will be located in the Life Science Center Düsseldorf.

Through the new facilities, scientists from Northern Germany and adjacent countries will benefit from GATC Biotech’s special overnight service, called NightXpress, which was first introduced in 2007. This single sample sequencing service reduces delivery times close to half a day from sample collection.

The new laboratory will be subject to the same stringent quality standards and automation as the laboratories in GATC Biotech’s headquarters in Constance (Germany). It will start operations on January 4, 2011.

Jochen Schäfer, Director Custom Sequencing at GATC Biotech, said: “We see a growing need in providing sequencing services with shortest turnaround times, therefore it is essential to be closer to our customers. The Life Science Center Düsseldorf just offers the perfect infrastructure and geographic location.”

The Life Science Center Düsseldorf (LSC) is the technology and entrepreneur center for Düsseldorf in Life Sciences (eg, biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical science) and further technologies. The LSC supports founders, young enterprises and research institutions in turning their scientific know-how into a marketable product or process. This also applies to companies that are already successful in the marketplace and wish to expand. The LSC consists of two buildings that perfectly complement each other: the Technology Center with laboratory infrastructure (S2 standard) and associated offices. Vis á vis the representative Office Building, in which the service companies can assist and support the companies located in the Technology Center.

GATC Biotech AG

Positive outcome of the C-Cure Phase II clinical trial in heart failure patients

The Belgian biotechnology company, Cardio3 BioSciences - a leader in discovery and development of regenerative and protective therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases - today announced positive six-month results, including significant functional and clinical benefit, from the Phase II clinical trial of its development programme C-Cure, designed as a novel stem cell therapy for heart failure based on breakthrough technology.

Forty-five patients with severe heart failure of ischemic origin participated in the C-Cure multicenter Clinical Trial in Belgium, Serbia and Switzerland, and were randomized to optimal standard of care (control group; n=24) or optimal standard of care plus C-Cure treatment (treatment group; n=21). The primary objective of this trial was to assess the safety and feasibility of C-Cure, a stem cell product candidate derived from the patient’s own bone marrow and guided to cardiac lineage cells.

New osteoporosis diagnostic test kit

Osteoporosis affects over 75 million people worldwide and in a single year there are more than 9 million instances of osteoporotic fractures making it the fourth most significant non-infectious disease after cardiovascular disorders, cancer and diabetes. It is now known that Osteoporosis and the subsequent risk of fracture is under genetic control (The Genomos Study) with the genes of Collagen type 1 (COLIA1) and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) being of significant importance in this process.

Genetic testing allows potential sufferers of the disease to identify their increased risk of developing osteoporosis and to start preventative treatment as soon as possible.

Astra Biotech GmbH have now developed the new Osteoporosis Kit diagnostic test kit using RT-PCR for the detection of polymorphisms in the COLIA1 and VDR genes to improve the identification of defects which result in abnormalities in bone matrix mineralization.

The Osteoporosis assay is an assay which tests both polymorphisms and is more sensitive and convenient than alternative assays. The new kit includes all the necessary primers, enzymes, positive controls and buffers sufficient for 100 assays. The Osteoporosis assay is produced following strict quality control procedures and using only certified high purity reagents, being in addition IVD compliant and therefore suitable for clinical applications. If the risk of osteoporosis is identified at an early stage then suitable treatment regimes may be introduced to minimise the risk of bone deterioration in line with Astra Biotech GmbH’s philosophy that prevention is better than a cure.

Astra Biotech GmbH also manufacture kits for the detection of hereditary thrombophilia and the determination of an individuals susceptibility or resistance to oral anticoagulants plus a wide range of convenient ELISA assays offering exceptional value for money to small or medium sized laboratories.

Implementing digital video recording to increase laboratory efficiency

RTS Life Science, a worldwide supplier of automated sample management and pharmaceutical testing systems today announces the availability of a poster highlighting how digital video recording can monitor processes and help resolve problems encountered in a lab, freeing analysts for more valuable tasks.

With every laboratory under pressure to increase efficiency and take on a greater workload of experimentation and testing, scientists have turned to automated processing systems to reduce the mundane and often time consuming tasks, whilst they concentrate on the design and interpretation of the studies being performed. This all sounds fine, except that real world automation systems and robotics need a level of care and supervision to keep them running well, and many experiments still need to be qualitatively viewed and analyzed during processing.

To enable labs to increase their productivity, whilst keeping headcount the same or lower, there needs to be an enabling technology which allows scientists to multitask their time amongst multiple critical daily duties. This technology is video monitoring and recording. Advances in CCD cameras and processing technologies have made the implementation of video recording affordable to most operations. The RTS LabEye system incorporates up to 16 digital cameras with a digital video recording system that is PC based. The LabEye software has been written to facilitate the type of qualitative analysis tasks that are prevalent in all labs.

This poster presents a case study detailing the use of digital video recording with solid dose tablet dissolution. This study looks at the application and benefits achieved by using a six camera system to monitor and record an extended release dosage during typical USP testing. The poster also outlines the broader use of the technology in auditing and debugging automation systems used in testing laboratories.

To download a copy of the poster, click here.

ITT completes acquisition of OI

ITT Corporation announcedhas completed its previously announced acquisition of OI Corporation, (OI) for approximately $29 million.

OI is a leading provider of innovative instrumentation for laboratory and environmental testing in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, power and industrial markets. The company's portfolio will enhance ITT's Analytics business, which was formed earlier this year with the acquisition of Nova Analytics.

"The addition of OI to our existing portfolio supports our strategy to acquire attractive companies to grow our presence in the $6 billion global analytical instrumentation market," said Chris McIntire, president of ITT Analytics. "Combining OI with our own product offering allows us to expand our technical expertise to serve our instrumentation customers, and will enable us to better serve our global customers."

OI was founded in 1963, and specializes in innovative total organic carbon (TOC) analyzers and gas-chromatography related instrumentation, as well as consumables and services. OI reported 2009 revenues of $20 million. Its products are sold worldwide by direct sales, independent representatives, and distributors.

ITT Analytics

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

BioCision’s CoolProduct range now available from SANYO

BioCision LLC announces the signing of a product distribution agreement with SANYO E&E Europe BV, SANYO’s biomedical division in Europe. SANYO will be marketing the entire CoolProduct portfolio – a modular system of innovative benchtop laboratory tools based on BioCision’s patented technology for temperature change and control of benchtop biomedical samples.

All three BioCision product lines will be launched in Europe with SANYO: CoolRack™, highly thermo-adaptive cryo tube, microfuge and PCR sample holders; the CoolBox, a portable ice-free cooling and freezing sample management product; and CoolCell, an alcohol-free, no-maintenance device for precise rate-controlled –1ºC/minute cell freezing.

The new European distribution agreement is one of a series of partnership deals for BioCision that expands its presence geographically as well as into new business segments.

Commenting on the latest distribution agreement, Dr Rolf Ehrhardt, BioCision CEO, said: "This represents a significant additional validation for our products, as SANYO is a premier supplier of cooling/freezing equipment in Europe. SANYO will help us greatly to increase our penetration into European markets, and the new initiative truly underscores the growing need and demand for inexpensive, effective tools for portable sample cooling and freezing."

BioCision’s highly thermo-conductive CoolRack modules enable standardised benchtop sample cooling, freezing, snap freezing, heating and thawing. CoolRacks, along with BioCision’s ice-free CoolBox system and CoolCell, bring portability and all-day uniform temperature control to the benchtop.
CoolProducts allow easy handling, organization, protection and standardization of samples, cells, and specimens, with applications in drug discovery, and basic and clinical research. Users benefit from high sample reproducibility and consistency – experiment to experiment, lab to lab and research/clinical site to site.

According to Paul Freeland, SANYO Senior Product Manager: "We are constantly striving to provide our customers with the best and most efficient tools for optimising their laboratory work. BioCision’s products are unique in their ability to manage temperature-sensitive lab samples – whether cooling, freezing, heating or thawing – independent of user or location. We are delighted to offer these high-quality tools to our customers."


Tecan hosts applied genomics symposium for world-renowned scientists

Salzburg in Austria was the beautiful autumn setting for Tecan’s Third Symposium focusing this year on Applying Genomic Technologies. Speakers and delegates from Europe, the US, Asia and Australia took advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and discuss their science in an informal and stimulating atmosphere.

Sessions were held over two days on a number of different focal points within applied genomics, beginning with an overview of the newest technologies in development and how they might impact the whole spectrum of genomics applications. The emphasis then turned to the applications themselves, on the impact of genomics on human health, in human identification for forensic applications, and on food and the environment. A key element of the program was the significant amount of time set aside for question and answer open forums with speakers from each session.

Marc Feiglin, Chief Technology Officer of Life Sciences and the host of the Tecan Symposium in Salzburg, said: “The symposium provides Tecan with a valuable opportunity to interact with thought leaders from both academia and industry. The three days of interactions enables us to understand the cutting edge science and technology as well as the bottlenecks and problems that are encountered in applying these technologies.

Our guests appreciate the opportunity to engage not only with their peers from within their industry or area of specialty, but also from other areas and to understand the commonalities between their problems and areas of research. The hope is to stimulate cross-fertilization of ideas.’’

Tecan Trading AG

NovAliX Acquires a majority interest in Graffinity

NovAliX SAS today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in Graffinity Pharmaceuticals GmbH of Heidelberg, Germany, a fragment based drug discovery services company. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

NovAliX’ President, Stephan Jenn stated: "The acquisition of Graffinity will be a significant step toward our goal of providing integrated drug discovery services. With a unique and diverse small molecule library and patented SPR-imaging technology, the Graffinity platform is fully complementary to NovAliX’ offerings in X-Ray crystallography, supramolecular mass spectrometry and liquid-/solid-state NMR. With this second technology-oriented acquisition in 2010, we are forming a group of more than 120 scientists developing and applying cutting edge research capabilities in discovery and development of innovative medicines. We are an external innovation partner for our pharmaceutical clients."

Dr.Kristina Schmidt, CEO of Graffinity, commented: ”NovAliX and Graffinity, both being management- and employee-owned companies, share common entrepreneurial values which have driven seamless integration as we have already experienced in joint projects. We now have a complete offering of discovery services covering the spectrum from first hit generation to lead optimization.”

Mathias Woker, Chief Business Officer of Graffinity, stated: ”Joining forces allows our companies to offer relevant services to the new marketplace. Pharma and biotech customers have the opportunity with the NovAliX Group to flexibly outsource comprehensive discovery functions.”


Evaluating diagnostic assays

Astra Biotech GmbH is inviting new customers to evaluate its comprehensive range of diagnostic assays as a test of its quality and value for money. The concept is that customers may trial a specific test kit to ensure it is suitable for their application before adopting the test on a more formal basis.

All that is required is feedback at the end of the trial to help understand how the assays performed during the evaluation.

To complement the existing range of products Astra Biotech GmbH are continuing to develop diagnostic assays for the prevention of disease and to identify any individual predisposition to possible major illness while trying to reduce the cost per analysis which is a significant factor in today’s laboratories.

Cost may be a factor however Astra Biotech GmbH will never compromise quality as demonstrated by the fact that they only use traceable reagents in production.

All the assays are IVD compliant and come with comprehensive instructions so that they are easy to incorporate into the daily routine.
For laboratories who are concerned about their running costs or are using 'research only' assays, then the Astra Biotech GmbH evaluation program is the ideal, no risk option.

Reinnervate expands into a purpose-built research and production facility

Reinnervate, an innovative life sciences company driving the adoption of routine 3D cell culture, today announced its expansion into a new purpose-built research and production facility at NETPark near Sedgefield, UK. The move to the circa 10,000 square foot facility has enabled reinnervate to begin commercial production of its alvetex 3D cell culture technology in readiness for its planned 4Q 2010 launch.

The company is also looking to recruit up to 30 new employees over the next 12 months in research, development production, sales and marketing in order to establish the use of alvetex for routine 3D cell culture in academic and industry laboratories around the world.

BioGenes develops Cellmid’s Midkine blood test

Midkine ELISA kit
BioGenes GmbH, a supplier of GMP compliant immunoassay and antibody services, has developed and optimized the first ever fully validated ELISA protocol for Midkine detection in blood serum. Furthermore, BioGenes has completed the manufacture of the first batch of MK ELISA kits. Midkine blood test has been recently launched by Sydney-based Cellmid Limited.

MK ELISA is a highly sensitive and robust assay for the accurate measurement of Midkine in blood serum. Midkine, which is also known as neurite growth-promoting factor 2 (NEGF2), is an embryonic cytokine and well known cancer biomarker that has been found to correlate with cancer progression and malignancy. Midkine shows limited expression in healthy adults, but is detectable in high quantities in the blood and urine of patients with a wide variety of cancers. Cellmid’s MK ELISA kit is therefore suitable for diagnostic development and the validation of cancer diagnostic and prognostic applications.

“Midkine blood test is highly sensitive with a detection limit of 8pg/ml which is well within the range of healthy serum MK levels of 0 to 300pg/ml. The test is also highly selective and shows no cross-reactivity with closely related protein Pleiotrophin. The assay recognizes all major species of Midkine including human, mouse, dog and pig making it highly suitable for animal studies and veterinary cancer diagnostic applications,” says Dagmar Schwertner, Director Marketing at BioGenes.

“I would like to thank BioGenes for their superb technical contribution to this difficult assay development project,” said CEO of Cellmid, Maria Halasz. “Their professional and persistent approach has been instrumental in the program’s success” she added.

BioGenes GmbH

NovAliX Acquires a majority interest in Graffinity

NovAliX SAS today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in Graffinity Pharmaceuticals GmbH of Heidelberg, Germany, a fragment based drug discovery services company. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

NovAliX’ President, Stephan Jenn stated: "The acquisition of Graffinity will be a significant step toward our goal of providing integrated drug discovery services. With a unique and diverse small molecule library and patented SPR-imaging technology, the Graffinity platform is fully complementary to NovAliX’ offerings in X-Ray crystallography, supramolecular mass spectrometry and liquid-/solid-state NMR. With this second technology-oriented acquisition in 2010, we are forming a group of more than 120 scientists developing and applying cutting edge research capabilities in discovery and development of innovative medicines. We are an external innovation partner for our pharmaceutical clients."

Dr.Kristina Schmidt, CEO of Graffinity, commented: ”NovAliX and Graffinity, both being management- and employee-owned companies, share common entrepreneurial values which have driven seamless integration as we have already experienced in joint projects. We now have a complete offering of discovery services covering the spectrum from first hit generation to lead optimization.”

Mathias Woker, Chief Business Officer of Graffinity, stated: ”Joining forces allows our companies to offer relevant services to the new marketplace. Pharma and biotech customers have the opportunity with the NovAliX Group to flexibly outsource comprehensive discovery functions.”


Leukemia lab invests in Fluidigm Access Array and EP1 Systems

Fluidigm Corporation has announced that MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory has purchased Access Array and EP1 Systems. The Access Array System is being used in combination with Roche's 454 GS FLX and GS Junior sequencing instruments, enabling high-throughput targeted deep-resequencing analyses. The EP1 System is being used for rare mutation detection studies and minimal residual disease investigations.

MLL combines diagnostic competences in cytomorphology, immunophenotyping, molecular genetics, and cytogenetics to provide patients with hematological malignancies with optimized, individualized, and highly reliable diagnoses.

"The number of molecular markers used to categorize myeloid neoplasms is constantly increasing. Amplicon-based next-generation sequencing is a suitable method to accurately detect and quantify the variety of molecular aberrations with high sensitivity (Kohlmann A et al., J Clin Oncol. 2010; 28:3858-65). We recently have added next-generation amplicon deep-sequencing to the portfolio of molecular diagnostic tests as part of our daily routine operations," said Prof. Torsten Haferlach, co-founder and CEO of MLL.

"Combining the Access Array and 454 sequencing systems delivers a robust and streamlined workflow that minimizes the number of manual steps required for targeted sequencing applications. MLL's installation is a perfect match for the capabilities of these systems that will enable high-quality analyses," said Gajus Worthington, president and CEO of Fluidigm. "Adding the EP1 System to the molecular diagnostic workflow will further enhance the detection and quantification of cancer mutations."

Fluidigm develops, manufactures and markets proprietary Integrated Fluidic Circuit (IFC) systems that significantly improve productivity in life science research. Fluidigm IFCs enable the simultaneous performance of thousands of sophisticated biochemical measurements in extremely minute volumes. These "integrated circuits for biology" are made possible by miniaturizing and integrating liquid handling components on a single microfluidic device. Fluidigm systems, consisting of instrumentation, software and chips, increase throughput, decrease costs and enhance sensitivity compared to conventional laboratory systems.


Video demonstrates benefits of controlled nucleation

SP Scientific has broadcast a new video that demonstrates how ControLyo Nucleation On-demand Technology can be used to control the nucleation of a product during freezing, such that the entire product nucleates at the same time and in the same way.

Using an example of freeze drying samples in vials the video ( illustrates how ControLyo Technology enables the freezing step to be much more repeatable and allows potentially greater control over cycle optimization.

Evidence on the correlation between reduction of airborne pathogens and reduction of infection rates in NHS Hospitals

Representatives from Inov8 Science Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of the AIM listed company Mid-States plc, presented a scientific poster which provides a correlation between the reduction of airborne pathogens and the reduction of infection rates in NHS hospitals using the AD during the UK Health Protection 2010 Conference held in Warwick.

The conference was attended by specialists in all fields of health protection and served as a showcase for innovative presentations which demonstrated the latest scientific research and its practical application in three key areas, including preventing and reducing infectious diseases.

International research award goes to Dr Karl Kolter

Dr Karl Kolter, BASF Head of Pharmaceutical Excipients Research and Development was honoured at the AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition with the 2010 International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council Foundation (IPEC) Industry Research Achievement in Excipient Technology.

Dr Kolter received the newly established award in honour of his outstanding history of research into novel pharmaceutical excipients.

"This award is a very special endorsement of many years of excipient development research and makes me very proud," Dr Karl Kolter commented, adding "It shows that our innovative work in this complex area is appreciated by the industry."

BASF - The Chemical Company

World first in-human stem cell trial begins

The first patient has been treated with stem cell therapy in a ground-breaking UK clinical trial led by the University of Glasgow.

The PISCES study, Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke, is the world’s first fully regulated clinical trial of a neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients.

According to Professor Keith Muir, Principal Investigator for the trial, the patient underwent the successful surgical procedure at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital and has now been discharged. The patient will be monitored closely for two years, with longer term follow-up procedures in place thereafter.

Everest Biotech awards $100,000 antibody grant

Everest Biotech, a manufacturer of high quality novel antibodies for the international research market, is delighted to announce the winners of its inaugural Antibody Creation Grant. Worth up to $100,000, the funding was offered to research labs around the world.

More evidence that melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model

University of Michigan researchers have determined that most types of melanoma cells can form malignant tumours, providing new evidence that the deadliest form of skin cancer does not conform to the increasingly popular cancer stem cell model.

In addition, the researchers found that melanoma tumor cells can change their appearance by switching various genes on and off, making the malignant cells a stealthy, shape-shifting target for researchers seeking new treatments, according to a team led by Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Origin of cells associated with nerve repair discovered

Scientists have discovered the origin of a unique type of cell known for its ability to support regeneration in the central nervous system. Their findings, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), raise the possibility of obtaining a more reliable source of these cells for use in cell transplantation therapy for spinal cord injuries.

Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), as the name suggests, ensheath and protect the nerve fibres in the olfactory nerve, which transmit olfactory (smell) information to the brain from receptor cells sitting in the lining of the nose. Excitingly, OECs can promote nerve repair when transplanted into the damaged spinal cord. They can also be grown in dishes from pieces of nasal lining but, unfortunately, in such small quantities that this may not be a viable option for use in treatments.

Biotrak assay methods for use with Biochrom Microplate Readers

Biochrom Ltd announces increased functionality in its microplate readers that now enable users of GE Healthcare’s popular Biotrak range of immunoassay kits to download pre-programmed method definitions.

Instead of loading methods manually, users can automatically pre-program the microplate reader with plate setup, standard curve, and analysis software for all Biotrak assays with colorimetric end point including EIA, ELISA, and activity assay formats. This saves time and helps reduce the chance of errors.

The Biotrak range covers a wide range of EIA applications for research use including cytokines, growth factors, cell proliferation, signal transduction, eicosanoids and matrix metalloproteinases.

The method definitions are designed for use on the Biochrom Asys Expert Plus and the Biochrom Anthos MultiRead 400 microplate readers. These rapid multi-channel instruments have on-board measurement and data analysis software and are ideal for labs requiring simple, rapid reading of microplates.


Centrifuge for large-volume blood banking and bioprocessing

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, the world leader in serving science, today announced the new Thermo Scientific Sorvall RC 12BP Plus Centrifuge, a large-capacity, high-throughput floor standing centrifuge for blood banking and bioprocessing applications.

With a maximum capacity of 12L, the centrifuge can process up to 12 blood bag systems (up to 500 mL) or six 2000 mL Thermo Scientific Nalgene bio-bottles. Run-to-run reproducibility is ensured by the Accumulated Centrifugal Effect (ACE) function, which automatically compensates for any variations in acceleration due to full or partial rotor loading. Precise control of acceleration and deceleration rates ensures that sample integrity is retained, even during delicate low-speed pelleting applications.

Prostate cancer treatment linked to higher rate of colon cancer, study finds

Men treated with hormone-based therapy for prostate cancer faced a 30 percent to 40 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer, compared to patients who did not receive this treatment, according to a new study.

The study looked at use of androgen deprivation therapy, a common type of treatment for prostate cancer that involves blocking the male hormone testosterone through either surgical removal of the testicles or a regular injection. It’s been shown to benefit men with advanced cancers, but its benefit for less-advanced disease is unclear. Still, more than half a million men in the United States receive this therapy.

Turkish IVF laboratory gets storage and security system

The sample storage and security system recently commissioned at the new BAHCECI Fulya IVF centre in Istanbul, Turkey, has been commended by the centre’s lead embryologist, Dr Nadir Ciray.

The system, supplied by IKS International (Rosmalen, the Netherlands), in a joint project with their Turkish distributors Gonagen, includes 17 IKS controlled-atmosphere incubators (CO2/O2 and CO2), integrated with IKS’ state-of-the art XiltriX monitoring, logging and alarm system.

Dr Ciray described the central role played by XiltriX in his laboratory: “It has only been a few months since I have been using the XiltriX system and the IKS incubators but their performance has been fantastic.

PharmaNet launches new brand identity

PharmaNet Development Group Inc, a provider of global drug development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, generic drug, and medical device industries, announced today that it is launching a new brand identity and tagline, "PharmaNet Works For You".

The new brand and tagline reflect the Company's promise to its clients to provide intelligent solutions to accelerate drug development programs consistent with the highest standards of regulatory compliance, quality and reliability.

On-line SAW-ESI-MS delivers KD with direct characterisation and quantification of protein-ligand interactions

Researchers at the University of Konstanz, have for the first time successfully developed a novel on-line bioaffinity-electrospray ionisation (ESI) mass spectrometry approach, which enables the simultaneous label-free detection, identification and quantification of protein–ligand interactions. Combining the sam5 surface acoustic wave (SAW) biosensor from SAW Instruments directly with ESI-MS has enabled the direct connection of protein-ligand KD analysis with their subsequent quantification and structural characterisation by mass spec.

This new tandem SAW-ESI-MS system has been developed in the laboratory of Professor Michael Przybylski at the University of Konstanz and recently published (Dragusanu et al, 2010. Biosensors have previously only ever been connected to mass spec indirectly in a MALDI-TOF format where crystallised sample spots are analysed.

Lophius Biosciences announces granting of key patent in the US

Lophius Biosciences announced today that the USTPO has granted the US Patent US 78293318 entitled “Use of urea-adjuvanted polypeptides for diagnosis, prophylaxis and therapy“.

This patent represents a key building block with respect to Lophius Biosciences T-cell based proprietary UREA technology platform, which has been used by the company already for the development of its diagnostic T-Track Tx test. This test allows the broad and highly sensitive monitoring of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) in immunosuppressed transplant patients. A corresponding patent has been granted in the E.U already and is nationalized in major markets.

“Following the positive decision by the US patent office in early 2010 with respect to patent granting for our proprietary Reverse T-Cell technology, we are very delighted to possess broad patent protection for the UREA technology platform in the most important markets worldwide“, said Dr Michael Lutz, CEO of Lophius Biosciences.

"The UREA technology is a novel platform which enables parallel stimulation of a broad spectrum of clinically relevant immune cells based on its unique mechanism of action. For the 1st time, this allows the development of in vitro diagnostic products that are capable to mimic and evaluate the critical in vivo cellular immune functions. Furthermore, this technology also potentially opens up the opportunity to develop novel adjuvant-free vaccines with a strongly improved profile,” added PD Dr Deml, Chief Scientific Officer of Lophius Biosciences.

Lophius Biosciences

Human Protein Atlas project has mapped 10,000 individual proteins to date

Scientists in Sweden today marked the half way point of a major, ground-breaking initiative to map every single protein in the human body.

Once complete, the Human Protein Atlas will provide scientists with data which will help detect and treat some of the world’s most serious health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Bringing together scientists in the Stockholm-Uppsala region, the Human Protein Atlas project is a collaboration between the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Uppsala University. It seeks to emulate the success of the Human Genome Project, focussing on the previously uncharted human proteome.

Proteins are vital entities in human cells and are involved in nearly all body functions both in healthy and diseased individuals. They are the targets for essentially all pharmaceutical drugs. There are 20,000 proteins created by the human body, but a large portion of these important building blocks have never been characterized.

Explaining the importance of the Human Protein Atlas, Professor Mathias Uhlén, project founder, said: “Proteins are the essential building blocks of human life; they govern every way that the body grows and develops. If we can properly identify and understand the behaviour of each of these 20,000 proteins we will unlock the code to understanding how and why diseases develop, paving the way for more successful treatments and better diagnostic tools.

“Mapping the human proteins makes it possible to fully exploit the results from the human genome project. Together, mapping the human building-blocks at the genome and proteome level has the potential to transform modern medicine. Reaching this half way point is significant for the Human Protein Atlas project as it moves us a significantly large step closer to completion, which we anticipate to be in 2015.”

In recent years there has been an increased interest and investment in a more personalised approach to medicine, facilitated by a better understanding of human proteins. This approach means doctors can detect disease at a much earlier stage and select the right treatment for each patient. Research breakthroughs, like the Human Protein Atlas project, will enable earlier and more precise diagnosis, a necessity for selecting which patients that actually might benefit from expensive and very targeted drugs which only work for specific small groups of patients.

The Human Protein Atlas project researchers in Sweden and Asia are able to map between eight and ten proteins each day, and 2,400 every year. Using genes as a starting point, scientists at the Human Protein Atlas project identify the associated protein. A specific region of the protein is chosen for the purpose of acting as a ‘signature‘ or template for making associated antibodies. These antibodies are then used as tools to document expression and localization of proteins in a large variety of normal human tissues, cancer cells and cell lines. The results are made available in a very detailed database which is hosted online for scientists from around the world to access free of charge

Regulatory requirements 'delaying launch of critical drugs in the oncology market'

Stringent regulatory requirements are delaying the launch of critical drugs in the oncology market. Moreover, premium pricing of products and reimbursement issues are curtailing the growth of this market. However, given the wide range of side effects that result due to cancer chemotherapy regimes, there are several different types of support therapies that can be applied to improve patients’ quality of life. This situation is opening up considerable growth opportunities for cancer support therapies.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European Cancer Support Therapies Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $7,831 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $8201.7 million in 2016. The anticipated rise in revenues is due to the increased focus of healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies on improving patients’ quality of life. The following segments are covered in this research: bisphosphonates, anti-emetics and growth factors.

Diagnostics for the identification of an individual’s predisposition to disease

Astra Biotech GmbH, Berlin, Germany, is a new company whose core focus is the development of innovative diagnostics for the identification of an individual’s predisposition to disease. With this in mind, Astra Biotech GmbH have produced a significant portfolio of assays in areas such as allergies, genetically associated disorders, hormonal dysfunctions, and others.

Key targets so far are for osteoporosis, a condition which affects over 75 million people worldwide and thrombosis, a major fatal disease in developed countries. Other diagnostic kits include one for the determination of an individual’s susceptibility or resistance to oral anticoagulants as well as niche diseases.

arGEN-X appoints Dr Debbie Allen as Senior Director Business Development

arGEN-X BV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of human antibodies using its proprietary SIMPLE Antibody platform, today announced the appointment of Dr Debbie Allen as Senior Director Business Development. Dr Allen brings to arGEN-X more than 12 years of corporate and business development experience with small and large biotech companies.

Dr Allen established her Business Development career at Cambridge Antibody Technology (now Medimmune), where she had management responsibility for technology, intellectual property and product out-licensing, corporate equity, co-development and cross-license agreements. She negotiated the 1999 agreement with Human Genome Sciences which led to the discovery of the monoclonal antibody BENLYSTA (belimumab) which has successfully completed Phase 3 development in systemic lupus.

Selexis to provide preclinical services in support of Zyngenia’s Zybody platform

Selexis SA announced today a strategic agreement with Zyngenia Inc under which Selexis will utilize its' industry-leading SURE Cell Line Development Platform to generate production cell lines for Zyngenia’s lead Zybody therapeutic programs.

”We are excited to support Zyngenia in the rapid advancement of their lead Zybody products,” said Dr Igor Fisch, CEO and co-founder of Selexis SA. “It’s rare in today’s biotech environment to find a truly innovative antibody platform such as Zyngenia’s, where multiple disease targets can be addressed with a single protein therapy”.

"We recognize the importance of incorporating industry-leading technologies in the development of our products and are pleased to be working with the experts at Selexis” adds David Hilbert, PhD, Head of Research and Development, Zyngenia Inc. “Selexis’ technological focus, aggressive development strategies, and commercial flexibility were important factors in our choice of providers in this area.”

Zyngenia Inc

Selexis SA

Affimed enrolls first patients in Phase I Hodgkin's Lymphoma study

Affimed Therapeutics AG, the therapeutic TandAb antibody company, today announced that the first patients with Hodgkin's Lymphoma have been treated with the AFM13 TandAb antibody in a Phase I clinical study.

The Phase I repeat dose escalation study will enroll approximately 40 Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients across two centers in Europe and the US. The first patients have now been treated with Affimed's lead product AFM13 and will receive a total of four doses in weekly intervals. In the initial dosing the antibody was well tolerated. Results from the trial will become available on a patient by patient basis and complete data are expected by Q4 2011.

Gyros platform chosen by Merck Millipore in expansion of contract service offerings

Merck Millipore’s BioPharma Services Organization to use Gyrolab Workstation for immunogenicity, pharmacokinetics (PK), current cGMP testing, and fit-for-purpose biomarker assays.

Gyros AB, a leader in the automation of miniaturized immunoassays, announced today that Merck Millipore’s BioPharma Services organization, a leading large molecule lab, has purchased a Gyrolab xP workstation to expand the company’s contract research services for the biopharmaceutical industry.

Study of epigenetic proteins involved in cancer and stem cell biology

Domainex Ltd, the contract research organization, today announced a collaboration with Sigma-Aldrich that will provide essential tools, including biochemical assays and monoclonal antibodies, for the study of proteins involved in the rapidly developing field of epigenetics.

These epigenetic proteins regulate DNA expression and can be critical to cancer and stem cell biology research. Funding from the UK Government-backed Technology Strategy Board will support this work.

arYla opens up new Ways to optimize therapeutic and diagnostic antibodies

MorphoSys AG announced today the launch of a novel antibody optimization platform called arYla. The company plans to use arYla to accelerate antibody optimization, with the goal of generating superior therapeutic and diagnostic candidates faster and more cost-effectively than is currently possible. arYla will be used to optimize a range of properties critical to the successful development of a therapeutic or diagnostic antibody. The arYla technology results from the combined technology platforms of MorphoSys and recently acquired Sloning BioTechnology.