Friday, 14 January 2011

Fluorimetric assay launched

AnaSpec, Eurogentec Group, has released fluorimetric kits for Cathepsin G, the SensoLyte= 520 Cathepsin G Assay Kit and SensoLyte= Rh110 Cathepsin G Assay Kit.

These long-wavelength, homogeneous assays are suitable for the screening of enzyme inhibitors and activators or for continuous assay of Cathepsin G activity.

The SensoLyte 520 Cathepsin G Assay Kit contains a FRET-based (HiLyte Fluor 488/QXL 520) substrate and the SensoLyte Rh110 Cathepsin G Assay Kit, a fluorogenic substrate labeled with Rh110. These two substrates have excitation/emission at the green wavelengths of 490/520 nm. The longer wavelength spectra and higher extinction coefficient of HiLyte Fluor 488 and Rh110 provide greater sensitivity and less interference from other reaction components.

Cathepsin G is a neutrophil serine protease, stored in cytoplasmic granules and secreted into the extra- and pericellular space upon neutrophil activation1. Cathepsin G plays important role in bacterial defence. It acts in combination with reactive oxygen species to help degrade engulfed microorganisms inside phagolysosomes2,3. Besides bactericidal effect, Cathepsin G regulates the inflammatory response by specifically altering the function of cytokines and chemokines4. Because of its role in host defense, Cathepsin G is of interest as a potential therapeutic target5.

1. Egesten, A. et al. Blood 83, 2985 (1994).
2. Korkmaz, B. et al. Biochimie. 90, 227 (2008).
3. Sieńczyk M. et al. Bioorg Med Chem. 19,8863 (2008).
4. Pham, CT. Nat Rev Immunol. 6, 541 (2006).
5. Korkmaz, B. et al. Pharmacol Rev. 62, 726 (2010).
6. Lesner, A. et al. Anal Biochem. 375, 306 (2008).
7. Greco, MN. et al. J Am Chem Soc. 124, 3810 (2002).

AnaSpec, Eurogentec Group

‘Close up’ on bioscience

How far should we alter our bodies and our brains? Should we control the creation of new life forms?

A short film competition to encourage the creative communication of some of the social and ethical issues being generated by our increasing ability to manipulate and control life has been launched by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) today (14 January).

The BIOS Centre at LSE wants budding film makers to tackle questions raised by advances in the life sciences and biomedicine in a two minute video.

Identifying sepsis in critically ill patients

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced that Dr Eric Gluck will host a scientific presentation highlighting the benefits of the Thermo Scientific B.R.A.H.M.S procalcitonin (PCT) assay at the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) 40th Critical Care Conference 2011. Dr. Eric Gluck is an early adopter of procalcitonin and will provide insight into the benefits of using the protein as a biomarker for sepsis and its utility in the intensive care unit at Swedish Covenant Hospital to assist in identifying sepsis in critically ill patients.

PCT is a protein biomarker that can be detected in human serum and plasma. The Thermo Scientific B.R.A.H.M.S PCT biomarker assay enables rapid andaccurate risk assessment for progression to severe sepsis and septic shock, which is of particular benefit to intensive care units in hospitals. The seminar will be presented by Dr Eric H Gluck, MD, JD, Director of Critical Care Services, Swedish Covenant Hospital Professor of Medicine, Finch University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School at the Thermo Scientific booth 432 on Monday 17th January at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm Pacific Time.

Sepsis is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state due to systematic infection, which can result in organ failure and death. PCT is a protein that can be used as a marker for sepsis allowing for identification and risk assessment. Unlike other sepsis biomarkers, the B.R.A.H.M.S PCT biomarker  assay has been shown to accurately predict the absence of the condition early in the diagnosis stage, reducing costs and unnecessary antibiotic use.

Test implementation is efficient and practical, blood samples can be prepared and analyzed in just 19 minutes and patient results delivered one hour from taking the blood sample. In addition, levels of PCT in the human body correlate to the severity of the infection, enabling a more accurate and detailed assessment.

Dr Gluck comments: "The Thermo Scientific B.R.A.H.M.S PCT assay has proven an effective tool for identifying and assessing sepsis in critically ill patients at the Swedish Covenant Hospital. We are extremely pleased with the sensitivity and specificity of the PCT biomarker and it has allowed us to make safer and more efficient treatment decisions, avoiding the prescription of unnecessary antibiotics, which may result in further infection."

Further to the presentation, Thermo Fisher Scientific will showcase the B.R.A.H.M.S PCT biomarker assay at the Thermo Scientific booth 432 during SCCM 2011, January 15-19, San Diego.

Thermo Scientific

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thermo Fisher Scientific launches YouTube chromatography channel

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced the launch of a YouTube Channel dedicated to Chromatography at The first two videos uploaded are entitled ‘How GC Columns Work’ and ‘An Introduction to SPE’ and are ideal educational pieces to give rapid training on how various aspects of chromatography work.

The online ‘How GC Columns work’ video tutorial uses an example application on the analysis of neutral and acidic drugs using Thermo Scientific TraceGOLD GC Columns to demonstrate how ultra low bleed, high levels of reproducibility and superior inertness are essential to ensure full confidence in analytical results.

The Thermo Scientific Sample Preparation video enables viewers to discover how through the use of SPE, you can achieve a cleaner baseline and improved data processing leading to greater confidence, increased speed is cover how through the use of SPE, they can achieve a cleaner baseline and improve data processing leading to greater confidence, increased speed and reduced cost of analysis.

Sulphur detection in proteins

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc has announced that the University of Oviedo's analytical spectrometry research group has implemented the Thermo Scientific XSERIES 2 ICP-MS to perform reliable and interference-free sulphur detection in proteins. In the past, interference from gas-based polyatomics has made the accurate determination of sulphur isotopes particularly challenging for the research group. The XSERIES 2 ICP-MS has overcome these issues, offering high levels of accuracy while also optimizing the efficiency of analyses.

The analytical spectrometry research group at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain, aims to solve the analytical challenges encountered by science and technology. Within this framework, a small sub-group has been established focusing on the development of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based analytical methods for the quantification of biopolymers such as DNA and proteins. One of the principal issues faced by the group is the interference from gas-based polyatomics such as oxygen in the determination of sulphur when using a low resolution instrument. To eliminate these problems, the group selected the Thermo Scientific XSERIES 2 ICP-MS with collision/reaction cell technology (CRC).

Predicting toxicity of drugs

CIT, the European non-clinical CRO, today announced it will be joining with other partners in a five-year joint research and development project to address the unmet need for test methods for predicting toxicity of drugs, chemicals and cosmetic ingredients. The project is called ScreenTox (Stem Cells for Relevant, Efficient, Extended & Normalised Toxicology). The partners will receive funding within the Health Programme of the European Commission's 7th RTD Framework Programme.

CIT is one of 14 industrial and academic partners in the project, which is coordinated by Inserm, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. The “ScreenTox” project will be funded as part of a research cluster with an overall budget of EUR 50 million. This cluster covers seven projects and represents a unique joint effort from the European Commission and the European Cosmetic Association (COLIPA).

Rapid set-up and image capture of 1D, 2D and multiplex gels

Syngene, a manufacturer of image analysis solutions, has unveilled its new GeneSys image acquisition software. Developed for use with Syngene’s G:BOX and Dyversity systems, GeneSys ensures scientists can quickly capture excellent images of even complex multiplex gels.

The GeneSys software features large touch-screen buttons which guide users effortlessly through set-up and image capture. Each screen prompts researchers to select, for example, the type of gel or blot they are using and what it is stained with. The software analyses which filters and lighting are available in the G:BOX or Dyversity. Then drawing on its extensive database, which contains manufacture’s recommended conditions for detection of hundreds of commercially available DNA, RNA and protein dyes, GeneSys suggests the optimal combination for imaging. Scientists can then select this via the touch-screen and the GeneSys software instructs the imaging system to automatically set up the filters and lighting and produces either one or a series of perfect gel images.

Laser etched sample tube storage rack

Micronic has introduced a next generation version of its popular Roborack 96-position sample tube storage rack. Traditionally users have used adhesive paper labels on their storage racks to provide sample traceability. However over a period of time, subject to repeated freeze thaw cycles and organic solvents which samples are often dissolved in, paper labels commonly degrade or fall off.

The new white Roborack-96 is laser etched to produce a label that can never wear or fall off. Each white Roborack-96 is laser etched with a guaranteed unique 1D barcode ensuring absolute sample traceability. The white rack and laser etched bar code provide a stark contrast thereby providing excellent bar coding readability and minimising the risk of incorrect sample identification.

The Roborack-96 incorporates a wealth of novel features enabling turn-key integration into almost any laboratory automation systems. Manufactured from hi-grade solvent resistant polypropylene, the Roborack-96 meets the globally recognized Society of Biomolecular Screening (SBS) standard footprint ensuring compatibility with most automated sample handling systems. An enclosed wall design allows robotic grippers to access the rack from any height allowing easy rack manipulation and movement.

Contoured Sure-Shot well tops on the Roborack-96 help guide tubes that are incorrectly delivered by automated equipment. The design allows robotic grippers to access the rack from any height for easy rack manipulation. The wells have an open airflow design for faster freezing and thawing.

To ensure sample integrity during transport or storage each Roborack-96 is supplied with an easy-to-operate lockable lid. All Micronic racks are manufactured under US Federal Standard 209E Class 10,000 clean room conditions.

Dedicated to the design and production of innovative sample storage tubes, accessories and instruments over the last 25 years, Micronic is uniquely able to offer laboratories the expert advice to help them safeguard one of its most valuable assets - its samples.

Micronic Europe BV

Cenix BioScience establishes new R&D subsidiary in Belgium

Cenix BioScience GmbH , a contract research organization specializing in RNA interference- (RNAi) and microRNA- (miRNA) based drug discovery, today announced that it is growing its R&D operations by establishing a new subsidiary in Flanders, Belgium.

The new subsidiary company, named Cenix BioScience BVBA, will be wholly owned by its Dresden-based parent, and will help accelerate the development of the company’s R&D capabilities in key growth areas including CNS-focused drug discovery and in vivo RNAi. Through these programmess, Cenix is working to improve the in vivo applicability of siRNA technology by testing novel delivery solutions including its own proprietary DARE technology. The expansion comes as part of a major growth and diversification initiative ongoing since 2008 to broaden the company's range of activities beyond the cell-based RNAi services that have established Cenix as a global leader in various applications of RNAi screening over the past 11 years.

“We are very excited to start this important new phase in our company’s development,” said Dr. Christophe Echeverri, CEO/CSO of Cenix. “This opportunity comes as the result of many years of hard work by past and present staff. It also arises at a particularly strategic time in the maturation of the RNAi field, which we are eager to help drive further forward in the years to come, now through both our original Dresden team and our new Flanders unit.”

Cenix BioScience GmbH

Validation and verification of tubes for venous and capillary blood specimen collection

The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) recently published "Validation and Verification of Tubes for Venous and Capillary Blood Specimen Collection; Approved Guideline" (GP34-A). This document provides step-by-step recommendations for the validation and verification of venous and capillary blood collection devices.

Nancy Dubrowny, MS, MT(ASCP)SC, BD Preanalytical Systems, and chairholder of the subcommittee that developed the guideline, says, "One benefit of this document is that it provides a recommendation for tube manufacturers on a process that can be used to demonstrate, through clinical evaluations, the safety and efficacy of their newly developed blood collection containers. In addition, clinical laboratories can use GP34-A to ensure that there is no contribution to measurand interference from blood collection containers used in their institutions."

New tools for studying live cell biology

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today introduced several new hardware and software enhancements to its flagship Thermo Scientific Arrayscan VTI HCS Reader, improving live-cell imaging and expanding visualization and open standards data management.

These enhancements are part of the Thermo Scientific High-Content 2.0 program and include the integration of the ZEISS Definite Focus hardware into the Arrayscan VTI HCS Reader’s live cell configuration. This change is designed to better support high-content analysis of living cells, such as the study of calcium signaling, pharmacokinetics, toxicity and GPCR’s . During such long term experiments the sample container often deforms due to thermal changes, however the Definite Focus hardware maintains the sample in sharp focus (for up to 20h) by the use of a long wavelength (infrared region) LED in combination with algorithms that adjust the instrument’s Z-drive, eliminating the need for repeated software autofocus and the photo-toxicity it may cause.

Rapid detection system uses a new bioluminogenic test principle

Hygiena International Ltd launches the EnSURE, a small portable rapid detection system that can make several different test measurements using a new bioluminogenic test principle. The tests include Micro-Snap, Zymo-Snap and Super-Snap.

Micro-Snap products will provide test results, indicating single figure organisms, in just seven hours. They can be used to verify surface cleaning efficacy in industrial processing applications, plus product quality and safety for raw materials, processed food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products together with both potable and process water supplies.

The system utilises a new bioluminogenic test principle in their existing patented snap valve device with a more sensitive luminometer, called EnSURE. The system has been validated for the detection of specific bacteria including Coliform, Enterobacteriaceae and E.coli at very low levels and in a variety of sample types. A new formulation and re-arrangement of the established ATP bioluminescence biochemistry, coupled to specific substrates, now enables the technology to detect specific bacteria with high sensitivity. Enzymes (such as beta-Galactosidase and beta-Glucuronidase) that are characteristic of specific target bacteria, utilise these substrates in a process that releases light which is detected in the sensitive EnSURE handheld luminometer.

Fast response times to temperature change are as critical in nature as they are in the laboratory

Swordfish are able to control the temperature of their eyes and brain independent of the surrounding water temperature. Even when water temperatures are close to freezing, the vascular heat exchanger in the swordfish allows the brain and eyes to be kept between 19°C to 28°C, protecting the nervous system from sudden cooling as the swordfish travels through a wide temperature range. As a consequence, the swordfish is more alert and can detect prey seven times quicker than other predators.

When it comes to temperature control of a process, fast response times can be just as critical. With a temperature range from -120 to +425°C, Huber Unistats are designed for demanding temperature control applications where reliability, predictability and tight control are a necessity in a constantly changing reaction mass. Critical process temperatures can be maintained despite mixing, ingredient addition, exothermic and endothermic reactions. The result of precise temperature control is increased yields, reduced resource consumption and lower running costs.

To demonstrate the rapid response times of the Unistat temperature control systems, Huber produced over 200 case studies which show how effective thermal transfer results in very rapid heating and cooling times.


BPA in medical devices – is this a concern?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance used to make common polycarbonate plastic. However, the growing global concern regarding the health effects of this substance has lead several countries and organizations to issue health warnings. BPA will be banned in the manufacture of baby bottles 2011 in the european Union[1], and in september 2010 Canada listed bisphenol a as a ”toxic substance”[2].

In co-operation with the national toxicology Program, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s national Center for toxicological Research is currently carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.[3]

As these studies continue, the FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA within the food supply chain.

In reference:

The 2008–2009 annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel declared: ”Because of the long latency period of many cancers, the available evidence argues for a precautionary approach to these diverse chemicals, which include (...) Bisphenol A”[4].

The 2010 review at tufts University medical school concluded that ”Bisphenol A may increase cancer risk”[5], while another 2010 study found that ”BPA may reduce sensitivity to chemotherapy treatment of specific tumors”[6].
Some in vitro studies have suggested that ”BPA can promote the growth of neuroblastoma cells”[7], whilst another 2010 in vitro study has concluded that, ”BPA potently promote invasion and metastasis of neuroblastoma cells through over expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 as well as down regulation of TIMP2”[8].

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Microplate suited for method development

Porvair Sciences has introduced a version of its Microlute Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) microplate which provides a wide assortment of phase chemistries and sorbent loadings in a single plate making it suited for method development. The mix of phase chemistries and sorbent loadings available in the Development Microlute allows you to simply and rapidly screen for the optimal retention and selectivity required to achieve your sample preparation objectives.

The Development Microlute offers the user a choice of up to 12 different phases and sorbent loadings (10-100mg) in a standard format 96-well plate. By providing a complete SPE methods development solution that does not need to be constructed by the user, the Development Microlute delivers considerable savings in valuable laboratory time.

The novel design of the Development Microlute offers all the advantages of automated and high throughput SPE sample preparation in a convenient microplate format capable of rapidly processing 96 samples in one go repeatedly and precisely.

Constructed from a single piece of moulded high quality polypropylene, a Development Microlute plate will not bend or distort because individual SPE cartridges do not have to be repeatedly plugged in and out. Using a proprietary sorbent slurry loading technique, Porvair has eliminated the channelling effects often limiting the performance of dry powder loaded SPE columns.

Each well on a Development Microlute plate has an individual drain spout ensuring 100% sample transfer and zero crossover contamination.
Working closely with the leading automated liquid handling companies has ensured that Porvair Development Microlute plates deliver high productivity, trouble-free operation with all robotic sample handling and preparation systems.

Porvair Sciences Ltd

Porous shell LC particle manufacturing technology

Agilent Technologies Inc today announced that it was awarded a US patent for the process used to apply the superficially porous shell to particles in Agilent Poroshell 120 high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) columns.

The patent was issued for the unique coacervation process used to manufacture the Poroshell 120 silica. The process applies the superficially porous shell to the particles in a single step, replacing a multi-layering procedure. This reduces variation between columns for more reproducible results.

Poroshell 120 columns make the high speed and high resolution of sub-two-micron separations available to users of any mainstream LC instrument, including conventional HPLC. The columns also enhance the performance of UHPLC systems, up to 600 bar, enabling chromatographers to optimize the performance of Agilent’s new 1200 Infinity Series, which offers 600-bar capabilities as a standard feature.

“This simpler process delivers real benefits to our customers because it reduces variability in the chromatography workflow,” said Helen Stimson, Agilent vice president, Global Consumables for Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis, “and that is always a good thing.”

Agilent introduced superficially porous shell particle technology to the LC community in 2001with the Poroshell 300 HPLC column for biomolecule separations, and has reinvented the technology using coacervation as a key differentiator between Poroshell 120 columns and competitive offerings. This is the latest in a long history of LC column innovations, which include unique bonding on Eclipse Plus columns and unique packing of ZORBAX Rapid Resolution High Definition columns enabling stability at pressures as high as 1200 bar.

Agilent Technologies

Society for Applied Microbiology annual winter meeting

More than 100 international scientists have gathered in London today to learn more about two hot topics in microbiology: Probiotics and Anaerobic Microbes1 at the annual Winter Meeting of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiology society.

The bacterium which causes acne (Propionibacterium acnes) will be the topic of the Denver Russell Memorial Lecture, presented by Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University. As well as acne, this bacterium is responsible for a vast array of infections, yet is often ignored at diagnosis. Why are we not more aware of this versatile bug?

MorphoSys announces clinical milestone from strategic alliance

MorphoSys AG announced yesterday that it has received a milestone payment from Novartis in connection with the clinical trial application (CTA) and projected initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial of a HuCAL-derived, fully human antibody in the therapeutic area of inflammatory diseases.

"Our fifth clinical program within the Novartis alliance clearly underpins the success of this collaboration," commented Dr Marlies Sproll, Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG. "This program is one of seven that have moved into the clinic in 2010, which was an outstanding year in this regard."

MorphoSys's clinical pipeline now comprises nine partnered programs in Phase 1 and five in Phase 2 development as well as the Company's proprietary programs MOR103, which is in a Phase 1b/2a trial for rheumatoid arthritis, and MOR208, which is in a Phase 1 trial for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.


VAXIMM closes a CHF 7.8m financing round

Swiss biotech firm and Merck KGaA spin-off VAXIMM AG has announced the closing of a private financing round totaling CHF 7.8 million from new and existing investors. BB Biotech Ventures and Merck KGaA were joined by new investors Sunstone Capital, Merck Serono Ventures and BioMedPartners. The company plans to use the proceeds of the financing to progress its lead program VXM01 into and through clinical phase I testing.

Prism Ideas appoints Carol Hills as chief operations officer

Prism Ideas, an independent provider of medical communications and drug development consultancy services, has appointed Carol Hills as chief operations officer (COO) following a successful two-year period as the company's director of medical marketing.

The new position will focus on the day-to-day management of the business as part of Prism's continuing strategy for growth which has also seen five other new members of staff join the team over the past two months. The new appointments will assist the company as it expands into new regions including the opening of a US office.

Hills has more than 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical and medical communications industries and joined Prism Ideas in 2009. After gaining a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge she spent eight years in preclinical research at Glaxo Group Research, where she completed a PhD in receptor pharmacology. Making the move to medical communications, Hills led the development and delivery of the communications strategy and plan for a major oncology brand at AstraZeneca. As COO of Prism, Hills will work to ensure the infrastructure of the business is in place for the company's ongoing development while continuing to deliver excellent quality and service to customers.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Starter packs include assortments of commonly used laboratory glassware

Since most laboratory glassware is available in case quantities only, Kimble Chase created Starter Packs to combine assorted sizes of commonly used glassware items in a single package. If you are just starting a lab and you don’t need twenty-four of the same sized beakers, Starter Packs are for you.

Kimble Chase, the largest manufacturer of laboratory glassware products worldwide, offers Starter Packs to researchers so they can buy just what they need. Starter Packs are available for Erlenmeyer flasks, graduated cylinders and Griffin beakers, in just the right assortment of sizes. The packs are designed for labs that are just starting out, or for labs that stock items only according to their needs.

“Starter Packs start new labs off on the fast track,” says Kelly Williams, global marketing director at Kimble Chase LLC. “High performance, high quality KIMAX borosilicate glass is extremely durable when properly cared for, and ‘right-size’ consumption means people only procure what they need. Smaller labs, labs without need or space to store cases of glassware, can buy Kimble Chase Starter Packs and get just what they want,” she added. Kimble Chase Starter Packs contain one of each item in the most popular sizes; for instance, the Starter Pack for Erlenmeyer flasks includes a 50, 125, 250, 500 and 1000mL sized flask.

Kimble Chase

Highly efficient, reproducible non-cytotoxic transfection reagent

GenePORTER Gold from AMSBIO is a new highly efficient and reproducible lipid-based reagent for effective transfection of a wide variety of cell lines.

Molecular target delivery faces many barriers, from crossing the cell type-specific extracellular membrane, to cytoplasmic degradation and translocation across the nuclear membrane. To be effective, the transfection reagent/DNA complexes must overcome all of these challenges whilst minimizing cytotoxicity.

Traditionally the most efficient delivery methods have also been the most cytotoxic. Using Advanced Carrier Enhancement technology, a nuclear targeting mechanism that maximizes transfection and transgene expression levels while still maintaining high cell viability, GenePORTER Gold has been able to address this limitation.

Based on generations of proven cationic lipid formulations with more than 850 citations to date, GenePORTER Gold uniquely combines consistent delivery and reliability with the lowest reported cytotoxicity of commercially available transfection reagents. The GenePORTER Gold protocol has been optimized to provide simple, same-day transfection making it ideal for high throughput or large scale applications where the need for consistent results is highly desirable.

AMS Biotechnology (AMSBIO)

Integrated workstation for high-throughput target enrichment

Integrating advanced automation, liquid handling with Agilent SureSelect XT workflow - Agilent Automation Solutions has created a fully optimized and validated high throughput target enrichment solution.

SureSelect XT combines next generation sequencing library preparation and gDNA preparative reagents with the proven SureSelect target enrichment system. This, together with Agilent's automation portfolio, adds an unprecedented level of convenience and productivity to high-performance target enrichment.

Target enrichment let researchers sequence just the genomic regions of interest rather than entire genomes. Combined with the increasing capacity of the leading next-generation sequencers, the multiplexing support capabilities of the SureSelect XT platform make it possible for geneticists to interrogate the genome of more samples per study than previously possible. One of the rate-limiting steps in such studies has been library preparation and target enrichment. To enable high-throughput sample processing efficiency, Agilent Automation Solutions has now released an integrated workstation that automates SureSelect XT library preparation and target enrichment workflows.

"We integrated Agilent's automation and liquid handling portfolio with the SureSelect XT workflow, creating a fully optimized and validated solution, so scientists now can parallel process multiple steps and maximize unattended operation," said Todd P Christian, head of global marketing for Agilent's Automation Solutions Business. "This system results in greater throughput, up to 192 samples weekly per workstation, and enables greater lab productivity for fast and robust data generation."

Agilent's SureSelectXT Target Enrichment System offers the broadest range of complete target enrichment solutions and the most highly optimized protocols for a diverse set of sequencing methods and platforms. SureSelect XT products are available for enrichment of target sizes ranging from smaller than 200 Kb to more than 50 Mb in a single tube. Protocols now support Illumina end sequencing, paired-end sequencing and indexing protocols in addition to fragment library format, paired-end sequencing and barcoding on the SOLiD System.

Agilent Automation Solutions

Benchtop evaporator removes even highest boiling point solvents

Genevac has launched the EZ-2 Elite - a new addition to its popular EZ-2 evaporator range. The EZ-2 Elite is designed to remove high boiling point solvents and deliver enhanced solvent recovery thereby improving final drying of stubborn samples and enabling fast lyophilisation of HPLC fractions.

The high performance scroll pump used with the EZ-2 Elite delivers deeper vacuum than the diaphragm pumps used on other EZ-2 systems. This advance plus internal enhancements to heat vapour duct and system components enable the EZ-2 Elite to routinely evaporate challenging high boiling solvents including DMSO and NMP. In addition these enhancements ensure that such challenging solvents only condense in the SpeedTrap, and not anywhere else.

The SpeedTrap on the EZ-2 Elite works just like the other EZ-2 models but with the added benefit of automatic defrost and drain technology. The EZ-2 controls the SpeedTrap and the new Elite solvent collection vessel to allow mid-method defrosting and draining. This controlled draining facility enables very high levels of solvent recovery to be achieved. For example, when working with HPLC fractions, higher levels of dryness can be achieved by first draining the volatile organic solvent before tackling the water, allowing full vacuum to be used during final drying. Using the EZ-2 Elite SpeedTrap - the Genevac LyoSpeed™ method of fast lyophilisation of HPLC fractions is possible for the first time on an EZ-2 Evaporator.

Just load your samples, select maximum safe temperature for samples, select solvent type and hit start. Offering true unattended operation capability the EZ-2 Elite requires no user training, even a beginner can competently use the system within 5 minutes.

The EZ-2 Elite has been designed to concentrate or completely dry samples. The system will accommodate a wide selection of sample holders enabling evaporation from most common sample container formats including round-bottom flasks up to 500ml, tubes up to 160mm long, custom reaction blocks and shallow or deep-well microplates. To meet the need of the many life science companies switching their compound generation programmes from serial chemistry to parallel synthesis, the EZ-2 Elite is also able to take tubes, flasks and vials directly from the synthesis process, eliminating a manual handling step, increasing recoveries and removing the chance of cross contamination.

Controlled ice nucleation for freeze drying scale-up

SP Scientific, a leader in freeze drying technology, has announced a new LyoLearn webinar that will discuss the role of controlled ice nucleation in quality by design freeze drying scale-up procedures.

Chaired by Professor Michael J Pikal, Professor and Distinguished Chair, Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Connecticut - the scope of the 27th January 2011 webinar will be to discuss controlled ice nucleation by both the ice-fog technique and the depressurization technique and to review the advantages of controlled ice nucleation.

To practice "Quality by Design", organizations must be able to scale up freeze drying results generated in the laboratory to full scale manufacturing. To do this a technique must address a number of heat and mass transfer scale up issues. The 27th January webinar will suggest methodology for estimating the changes to a laboratory procedure that are required.

In addition the webinar will address the scale-up challenge presented by the difference in ice nucleation temperatures between the laboratory and the Class 100 environment found in manufacturing. Much greater degrees of super-cooling are typically found in manufacturing, meaning manufacturing processes run longer and run hotter than in the laboratory. Operators may minimize the freezing difference between laboratory and manufacturing by annealing in the frozen state, but perhaps the best strategy is to control the ice nucleation temperature. In this webinar the author discusses controlled ice nucleation by both the ice-fog technique and the depressurization technique and reviews the advantages of controlled ice nucleation.

To register for the January 27, 2011 webinar, visit

Target discovery agreement in the field of autoimmune disease

Ono Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (Osaka, Japan) and BioFocus (Saffron Walden, UK) announced today that they have signed a collaboration agreement, focused on discovering novel targets in the field of autoimmune disease.

Under the agreement, BioFocus will receive research funding and success payments based on the progress of the collaboration. BioFocus will utilize its unique SilenceSelect target discovery platform to deliver validated targets for Ono’s immunology programs. Ono aims to find modulators for these targets and generate novel and innovative drug candidates.

CLSI publishes updated Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Standard

Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute recently published the annual update of the antimicrobial susceptibility testing standard "Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing; Twenty-First Informational Supplement" (M100-S21), which is arranged in tabular format and provides updates of the latest recommendations for detecting emerging resistance of aerobic bacteria.

Critical Outcome Technologies meeting with prospective COTI-2 partners

Critical Outcome Technologies Inc announced today that representatives of the company will meet with several prospective partners who have expressed interest in its lead oncology drug candidate COTI-2 at Biotech Showcase. Biotech Showcase is a pharmaceutical partnering conference held concurrent to J.P. Morgan's 29th annual Healthcare Conference taking place in San Francisco, California on January 10-12, 2011.

The objective of these meetings is to present compelling data on COTI’s potentially first-in-class and best-in-class oncology compound, COTI-2, and to further discussions surrounding a licensing deal. During preclinical testing, COTI-2 has demonstrated greater selectivity, an improved safety profile and superior pharmacokinetics in comparison to other Akt inhibitors.

Waters launches Xevo G2 Tof Benchtop System

Waters Corporation has introduced the Waters Xevo G2 Tof (time-of-flight) mass spectrometer (MS) with UPLC/MSE and QuanTof technology, which offers the most sensitive, exact mass quantitative and qualitative performance of any benchtop MS system for scientists who need to confidently identify and quantify unknown compounds in complex samples.

New website for stem cell and regenerative medicine community

The Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) is kicking off the New Year by revamping its internet presence with a redesigned website and accounts on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

Its new website goes live on January 11, 2011, at along with our social networking identities on Twitter or Facebook.

The new website focuses on SSCN’s aim of creating a ‘connected community’ based on the development of a world-leading and sustainable Regenerative Medicine sector in Scotland.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Fluid level probe for hygienic environments

Sick has developed a new fluid level probe - the EHEDG-certified LFP - designed for use in hygienic environments, including pharmaceutical industries.

The new liquid level sensor, which has been designed using FDA-compliant materials, features a level display, level measuring and overfill/demand indicator in a cost-effective, durable and highly flexible device.

Darren Pratt, UK instrumentation product specialist, SICK, said: “The LFP has a robust design specifically developed to increase service life and functionality.

“If required the customer can trim the probe to the exact length needed, this, combined with its interchangeable connection concept, makes the LFP exceptionally adaptable and easy-to-use. The probe is also maintenance-free and quick to commission, allowing customers to make significant savings in terms of time and cost.”

The probe, which can be deployed in both conductive and non-conductive liquids, uses a field-proven Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) system to provide both overfill/demand indication and continuous level monitoring signals. The device has a standard measuring length of between 300 – 2,000mm, with a deadband of only 25mm, meaning the full level of a vessel is measured.

The LFP boasts a wide range of interchangeable process connectors, such as Triclamp, DIN11851, DIN11864, to meet the connection requirements of different industries and its modular connection system allows simple installation in any application.

The probe has a process temperature range of -20 to 150˚C and processes pressure up to 16 bar, allowing unrestricted use under CIP and SIP (cleaning-in-place and sterilisation-in-place) conditions. The LFP also meets the requirements of IP67 and IP69K for caustic washdown routines and does not require recalibration if the vessel fluid changes.


Assessing sepsis risk with clinical biomarker

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced that it will showcase its clinical assay for Procalcitonin (PCT), which aids in the risk assessment of critically ill patients with sepsis, at the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) 40th Critical Care Conference 2011.

PCT is a protein biomarker that can be detected in human serum and plasma in cases of severe sepsis and septic shock. The Thermo Scientific B.R.A.H.M.S PCT assay enables rapid and accurate risk assessment of the condition, which is of particular benefit to intensive care units in hospitals. The company will showcase the B.R.A.H.M.S PCT biomarker assay at Thermo Scientific booth 432 during SCCM 2011, Jan 15-19, in San Diego.

Biopharmaceutical system solution unites UPLC/MS analyses and workflows

Waters Corporation today introduced its Waters Biopharmaceutical System Solution at WCBP, the 15th Symposium on the Interface of Regulatory and Analytical Sciences for Biotechnology Health Products in Washington, DC, USA.

The new system brings together UPLC/MS characterization technology with UNIFI™Scientific Information System, an industry first comprehensive software solution that uniquely unites all aspects of biotherapeutic analyses and workflows for high-resolution analytics across the development process continuum.

The combination of UltraPerformance Liquid Chromatography, mass spectrometry, and bioinformatics technologies results in efficient flow of data and information and conforms to biopharmaceutical quality guidelines and regulations.

Polyplus-transfection raises EUR 2.5 million in latest funding round

Polyplus-transfection SA, which specializes in the development of solutions for the delivery of nucleic acids in research and therapeutics, has announced the completion of a funding round in which it raised EUR 2.5 million. This new round brings in new shareholders in Polyplus-transfection, AIRFI (Alsace Inter Regio Fonds d’Investissement) and Sudinnova, which have invested EUR 1 million and EUR 0.5 million, respectively. Two of the company’s existing shareholders, CIC Vizille Capital Innovation and CIC Finance, also participated in this round.

Nanotechnology in formulation and drug delivery

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK’s primary knowledge-based networks for Micro and Nanotechnologies, is pleased to announce it has partnered with the School of Pharmacy to host an event exploring the ways in which nanotechnology can help with the formulation and delivery of drugs. The conference will provide a forum for industry professionals to discuss and highlight best practise and to encourage collaborative working.

The biopharmaceutical industry is one sector guaranteed to see the benefits that nanotechnology has to offer, with the nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery market predicted to rise in value from $3.39bn to $26bn by 2012. Drug delivery systems that utilise nanotechnology are increasingly being adopted by industry as the drugs they are developing become more difficult to formulate. Issues such as solubility, labile moiety stability and transport across biological barriers can all be addressed by nanotechnology-based systems.

Patrick Burgermeister joins Apeiron business development team

APEIRON Biologics AG (Apeiron) today announced that Patrick Burgermeister, a seasoned venture capital and pharma manager will play a leading role in the company's business development activities. He will be engaged in identification and evaluation of new projects, in-licensing/out-licensing activities, portfolio assessment and sourcing new financing opportunities. Patrick Burgermeister has a dual background in business administration and molecular biology and brings in extensive industry experience from the areas of biotech, pharma, medtech, banking and venture capital.

Novel polyadenylation genome-wide profiling

Integromics, a leader in IT solutions provision for life sciences in the field of genomics and proteomics, today announced the publication of a paper in the journal Cell highlighting a novel genome wide profiling of polyadenylation events in human and yeast performed with Direct RNA Sequencing.

The data analysis used the recently introduced SeqSolve Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) functional bioinformatics analysis software and Direct RNA Sequencing. The discovered novel polyadenylation genomic sites and signals will provide a unique reference resource for the scientific community.

The published results demonstrate the crucial importance of appropriate bioinformatics software in maximizing the value of the data produced by high-end last generation high-throughput sequencing instruments. This is important in a market environment, where the cost of sequencing is plummeting, but the revolution is limited by a bottleneck at the level of downstream functional data analysis and interpretation.

Developing lead compound against psoriasis

Avexxin AS, a Norwegian pharma company focusing on the development of novel small molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, has announced the closure of a financing round enabling the company to take its lead compound against psoriasis through early clinical development.

The investment is managed by Sarsia Seed, an early stage investment fund located in Bergen, Norway, in syndication with Leiv Eiriksson Invest, an early stage investment fund in Trondheim, Norway.

New methods for the extraction of key compounds

Biotage, a supplier of tools and technology for analytical and medicinal chemistry, introduced a new series of application notes utilizing the industry-standard RapidTrace SPE Workstation. These methods are now available at

New applications include extractions from plasma, urine and whole blood, typically assayed in clinical and forensic protocols. Additionally, a new soil analysis method for dioxins and furans joins the presently available EPH protocols from Biotage.

“By offering SPE methods ready for use on the RapidTrace, labs are better able to quickly achieve consistent solid phase extraction results that meet industry needs for low to high throughput applications,” says Anna-Karin Wihlborg, Biotage Product Manager. “These new methods further strengthen our portfolio of support illustrate that Biotage is committed to providing the tools our customers need to achieve greater results.”

The RapidTrace Workstation is the gold standard for efficient and reliable solid phase extraction from low to high throughput applications. Up to 10 RapidTrace Modules can be controlled simultaneously by one computer allowing for a scalable solution.