Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rapid freezing of tissue samples

SP Scientific has launched the HistoChill - a new low temperature, mechanically refrigerated bath for the rapid freezing of tissue samples in Histology and Pathology Labs as well as other disciplines.

Operating down to -80°C, without the need for hazardous and costly expendable refrigerants, the compact tabletop HistoChill freezes tissues in just seconds increasing your lab throughput. Using a liquid medium, the HistoChill rapidly and thoroughly freezes samples minimizing ice crystal formation compared with the slow freezing rates encountered in a cryotome.

Frost build-up is minimized while introducing and extracting samples from the bath through integration of a warming loop on the upper outside wall of the refrigeration chamber. A hinged and insulated lid provides easy access to the bath.

The HistoChill is available in two configurations: the basic HistoChill for general freezing applications and the advanced model with built-in magnetic stirrer and temperature control for more demanding tissue specific or R&D applications. The advanced model includes digital set point and temperature indication.

SP Scientific

PRECOS and Argenta extend collaboration for integrated oncology drug discovery services

Preclinical Oncology Services Limited (PRECOS), a pre-clinical research and development service provider with a specific focus on oncology, has extended its alliance with Argenta to continue providing comprehensive oncology-focussed drug discovery services.

Argenta, a service division of Galapagos NV, provides fully integrated drug discovery services to a range of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. The five-year extension of the alliance will allow both companies to offer unrivalled expertise in cancer research to their pharmaceutical clients.

As a leader in the provision of pre-clinical research services for oncology drug discovery, PRECOS offers unique advanced patient-relevant in vivo models which closely reflect the clinical situation for each aspect of cancer progression, encompassing pre-cancerous lesions, primary tumours and metastasis. This ability to create cell lines from patient primary tissues that "never see plastic" means that cell lines are not selected based on their ability to survive in vitro, but on their true characteristics as cancer cells.
Argenta can now incorporate PRECOS' specialist in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo cancer models and exceptional scientific expertise into its integrated oncology drug discovery service offering, from hit identification through lead optimisation and in vivo "proof-of-concept" to clinical candidate selection. The breadth and depth of the two companies' combined capabilities and expertise in oncology research are unique to the industry.

"Argenta has an excellent reputation for providing first class contract drug discovery services to the global pharmaceutical industry; especially in oncology," comments Professor Sue Watson, Chief Scientific Officer, PRECOS. "We are looking forward to working with Argenta across a number of ongoing cancer-focussed contract research programmes, in addition to various major projects currently in the pipeline. This agreement further demonstrates our business growth and commitment to providing innovative drug discovery services."



Partnerships in Clinical Trials 2011

ICON plc, a provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, today announced details of its participation at Partnerships in Clinical Trials, taking place from March 30 – April 1 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON experts, including Alan Morgan, President, Clinical Research Services, will educate attendees on a range of topics, including operational strategies for profitability and growth, clinical trial feasibility and best practices for strategic partnerships. Attendees will also be able to meet ICON senior executives and learn more about ICON’s range of services by visiting the ICON booth (#801) in the exhibit hall.

Wednesday, March 30th, 16:20: Operational Long Term Strategies for Profitability and Growth in Global Clinical Trials

Alan Morgan, along with Eli Lilly, Purdue Pharma, Takeda and Allergan, will review and discuss commonalities and differences in their long term operational strategies for profitability and growth in global clinical trials.

Thursday, March 31st, 13:30: Clinical Trial Feasibility – Roadmap to Achieving Value and Return on Investment

Katherine Tranotti, Vice President Clinical Operations, ICON Clinical Research, will co-present with representatives from Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly on an internal and external approach to clinical trial feasibility.

Friday, April 1st, 11:00: Committing to Two Partners – A Look at the BMS Integrated Strategic Sourcing Initiative

Bari Kowal, Vice President Strategic Programs, ICON Clinical Research, will discuss BMS’ integrated strategic sourcing model with Joan Millsaps, Director, Business Operations and Outsourcing Management, BMS and Cynthia Hauck, Associate Director, Outsourcing Management, BMS.

Medicyte starts involvement in the Hepatic Microfluidic Bioreactor Project

Medicyte has now started operational activities to provide and qualify different types of upcyte liver cells for use in the multi-international Hepatic Microfluidic Bioreactor (HeMiBio) project. HeMiBio is an artificial liver that may be more predictive for human liver toxicity and liver metabolism of drugs than current in vitro and animal models.

Using its upcyte technology, Medicyte has succeeded in generating quasi human primary cells (upcyte® cells). These upcyte cells can be kept longer in culture than primary cells and even these differentiated cells can be initiated to proliferate in vitro. Most importantly, Medicyte´s upcyte hepatocytes are functionally equivalent to human primary liver cells and can be provided in unmet high quantities of consistent quality. This makes upcyte liver cells (hepatocytes, endothelial and stellate cells) ideal for the development of the artificial liver system “HeMiBio”.

The development of the HeMiBio is a prestigious project, involving twelve partners from seven countries. The project is coordinated by Prof Catherine Verfaillie (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium). Being an “in vitro artificial liver,” HeMiBio may be more predictive for human liver toxicity and liver metabolism of drugs, new chemical entities and cosmetics than currently used in vitro and animal models. Moreover, conventional chronic toxicity studies require high animal numbers that could be markedly reduced if not completely replaced by HeMiBio in the long term. HeMiBio is part of the European Research Initiative “Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing” (SEURAT) and is one of six projects, financed by European Commission’s FP7 HEALTH program and the “European Cosmetics Association” (COLIPA), that target the replacement of animal safety testing with appropriate in vitro methods. Medicyte´s efforts and expenditures for HeMiBio are fully compensated from the 50 million fund provided by FP7 and COLIPA.

Dr Joris Braspenning, Managing Director of Medicyte GmbH: “We are enthusiastic about working on this project together with renowned scientific institutes and scientists. I am sure that HeMiBio will result in a vast pool of scientific data that support upcyte® as enabling technology of great value.”

'Off the Shelf' fragment library for drug discovery lead generation

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc has announced that the Maybridge Ro3 Diversity Fragment Library is now available in a new prepared format, with each compound pre-dissolved as a DMSO solution.

A gold standard for lead generation, the Maybridge Ro3 Diversity Fragment Library contains a broad range of 1,500 compounds, many of which are small-molecule pharmacophores available only from Maybridge. Manufactured and selected specifically to meet 'Rule of Three' requirements, these fragments are an ideal first step in pharmaceutical lead development.

The new ready-to-use format offers complete user convenience, saving time on sample and stock solution preparation. Available in three 500-compound sets, each compound in the library is pre-solubilised as a 1ml 10mM solution, providing 10µMol of 95 percent purity pharmacophore dissolved in analytical grade DMSO. The libraries are also available at higher concentrations upon request to meet specific customer needs.

The Maybridge Ro3 Diversity Fragment Library is provided in standard, automation-compatible, matrix tube and latch-rack formats and is also available pre-packaged to fit any standard microplate footprint, with cap mat seals for automated, high-throughput applications. Each compound has a Tanimoto similarity index of 0.66, allowing for superb structural diversity across the library. The library contains a large number of compound fragments that are linker friendly, enabling them to be incorporated into larger drug molecule backbones.


Thermo Fisher Scientific

True Surface Microscopy wins Pittcon 2011 Editor’s Gold Award

The new WITec True Surface Microscopy mode is the winner of the Pittcon 2011 Editor’s Gold Award for the most outstanding new product at the 2011 PITTCON conference and technical exhibition (14-17 March 2011, Atlanta, USA). The Editors Choice Awards is selected by a panel of more than 150 editors registered at Pittcon and honors the most significant and important technological advancement introduced at the exhibition. True Surface Microscopy was chosen due to its ability to simplify the Raman Imaging process on large, rough or inclined samples.

“We are absolutely delighted and nearly overwhelmed to receive such a well respected award” says Dr. Joachim Koenen, Managing Director of WITec. “This is a great motivation to continue our successful philosophy of constantly introducing new technologies to provide our customers with cutting edge technology for their research.”

With nearly 1000 exhibitors, Pittcon is the biggest exhibition for analytical instrumentation in the world and attracts nearly 20 000 attendees from industry, academia and government from 90 countries worldwide. Due to this importance WITec has chosen Pittcon to showcase True Surface Microscopy for the first time in the US. The Editors Award which is presented to the best new products in Gold, Silver and Bronze categories has become an important feature of the exhibition.

WITec's new True Surface Microscopy mode allows confocal Raman imaging guided by surface topography. True Surface Microscopy follows the surface topography with high precision, so that even rough or inclined samples always stay in focus while performing confocal Raman imaging. To achieve this unique capability, the WITec alpha500 series integrates a highly precise sensor for optical profilometry. The topographic coordinates from the profilometer measurement are used to perfectly follow the sample surface in confocal Raman imaging mode. The result is an image revealing optical or chemical properties at the surface of the sample, even if this surface is very rough or heavily inclined. On such surfaces this information was only partially accessible thus far and with the new imaging mode, samples that had previously required extensive preparation in order to obtain a certain surface flatness can now be effortlessly and automatically characterized as they are.

Cutting edge stem cell kits, reagents and services

AMSBIO announces it will be showcasing its broad range of cutting edge stem cell kits, reagents and services at the UK Stem Cell Network Scientific Conference being held 30 March to 1st April 2011 at the University of York, UK.

Supporting the mission of the UK Stem Cell Network to enhance the coordination of research across the sub- disciplines of stem cell science, specialists from AMSBIO will be on-hand to discuss the latest sources of stem cells and exciting new products for stem cell growth, characterization, differentiation, assays and storage. The company will launch 6 informative Stem Cell Research guides, available as pdf or hard copy documents, covering these comprehensive product offerings supporting stem cell and regenerative medicine research applications.

Stem cells have received an unprecedented level of interest over the last decade across diverse scientific applications. Stem cells offer great potential to meet unmet medical needs in regenerative medicine and provide novel platforms in pharmaceutical drug discovery and toxicology applications. In addition, stem cells deliver critical insights into normal and disease developmental states.

AMSBIO supports all stages of stem cell research from source to storage. Regardless of the application, AMSBIO offers products to accelerate basic, translational and clinical stem cell research. AMSBIO offers embryonic stem cells, a large selection of adult stem cells, reagents to create iPS cells, optimized growth medium and supplements, extracellular matrices and feeder cells.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New 96-channel handheld electronic pipette

The INTEGRA VIAFLO 96 is a new 96-channel electronic pipette that enables fast, precise and easy simultaneous transfer of 96 samples.

The VIAFLO 96 has been designed to be used just like a standard handheld pipette. Therefore, no special skills or training are required to operate it. The VIAFLO 96 features the company's popular Touch Wheel™ pipette user interface enabling simple and fast programming of a wide range of pipetting modes including repeat dispense, serial dilute and sample dilute.

Customers will immediately benefit from the increased productivity delivered by their VIAFLO 96. Fast replication or reformatting of 96 and 384 well plates and high precision transferring of reagents, compounds and solutions to or from microplates is now as easy as pipetting with a standard electronic pipette into a single tube.

Four pipetting heads with pipetting volumes up to 12.5 µl, 125 µl, 300 µl or 1250 µl are available for the VIAFLO 96. These pipetting heads are interchangeable within seconds enabling optimal matching of the available volume range to the application performed.

The VIAFLO 96 uses VIAFLO GripTips which provide a perfect seal every time and won't fall off during use. These tips can also be used for other VIAFLO electronic pipettes.

The unique combination of features provided by the VIAFLO 96 will not only increase your productivity but also facilitate accurate delivery of liquids to target vessels, reduce cross contamination, lower operating fatigue and provide consistent results.


Expert witness laboratory analytical service

Warwick Analytical Service, the analytical division of Exeter Analytical (UK) Ltd, has announced the launch of their new "Expert Witness Service".

Drawing upon a wide range of analytical instrumentation and experienced qualified staff, operating under strict ISO 9001 and UKAS 17025 conditions, Warwick are able to deliver accurate, precise and reliable sample analysis in support of substance identification backed by technical consultancy and signed witness statements.

Warwick will advise on the most suitable methods to meet your needs and deliver an excellent quality service with a fast turnaround time providing data and expertise to a standard admissible in court.

Warwick Analytical Service

Diagnostic test for blood-stream infection

SIRS-Lab, a molecular diagnostics company based in Jena, Germany, announced the inclusion of the first patient in a 1000-patient clinical study evaluating their molecular pathogen test VYOO. The multicentre trial, performed in 11 key centers across Germany and initiated in February 2011, will deliver data about the utility of the PCR test compared to conventional methods to identify microbes in ICU patients with suspected sepsis.

Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in hospitals. Every year, more than 60,000 patients die from sepsis in Germany alone. It occurs when microbes enter the bloodstream and trigger a severe inflammatory response by the patient´s body. This is often life-threatening, and the search for the appropriate antibiotic or antifungal treatment can be a race against time. Traditional diagnostic methods can take several days to complete, and often miss the infection. With molecular diagnostics like the VYOO test, the microbe can be identified within hours, allowing rapid tailoring of the patient's therapy.

The biggest prospective trial of its kind to date in Germany will include more than 1000 patients in 11 centres. The study, led by the president of the German Sepsis Society Prof. Dr Tobias Welte (Hannover), will deliver data about the sensitivity and specificity of VYOO compared with the current standard blood culture and the clinical diagnosis at the hospital. It will evaluate how VYOO supports the clinician's decision-making and delivers critical information to support early and targeted anti-infective therapy.

Barbara Staehelin, CEO of SIRS-Lab, said about the study: "In this study, Clinicians and Microbiologists in Germany's top centers combine efforts to improve critical care in sepsis. We are excited to now enter the clinical development stage with VYOO and are looking forward to see the test perform in a routine laboratory environment."

Results are expected in early 2012.


Atlas CDS software control for Shimadzu Prominence HPLC

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc today announced the availability of a new Thermo Scientific Atlas Chromatography Data System (CDS) instrument control software for the Shimadzu Prominence and Prominence XR HPLC. Seamless control of Shimadzu's Prominence is now possible at no extra cost as no connection license is required. Award-winning Atlas CDST provides chromatographers with a client/server chromatography-based software solution available for controlling multi-vendor instruments.

Within regulated industries, data management is a crucial part of the quality control process. Consequently, there is great demand for a single
CDS that can integrate chromatographs from a variety of manufacturers. In response to customer needs and current market demand, Thermo Fisher and Shimadzu have collaborated to provide full instrument control and chromatography data handling within Atlas for the Shimadzu Prominence; a network-ready HPLC.

Monday, 21 March 2011

University of Nottingham and BioFocus sign compound management agreement

BioFocus announced today that its Compound Focus Inc subsidiary has signed a compound management services agreement with the University of Nottingham, UK. Under the terms of this agreement, Compound Focus will select, source, acquire, perform quality control checks and reformat a compound collection before returning to the Managed Chemical Compound Collection (MCCC) at the University of Nottingham. These services will be provided by Compound Focus’ compound management facility in South San Francisco, USA.

European Lab Automation 2011 Conference & Exhibition

Select Biosciences, organisers of European Lab Automation (ELA) 2011, have announced that Screening Europe and Advances in Protein Crystallography will be among the streams of European Lab Automation 2011 Conference & Exhibition Announced.

The inaugural event will take place 30 June – 1 July in the historic city of Hamburg, Germany, and will bring together ten distinct conference tracks with 20 expert speakers per track. Each will address a specific application area but with a core focus on automated techniques and equipment, and associated informatics.

Screening Europe will explore the very latest key topics relating to lab automation in screening, including HCS, chemical probes, fragment-based drug discovery, label-free assays and compound management. With attendance of both novice users and experts alike, the conference will cover the most relevant and challenging issues of lab automated technologies. Among the keynote speakers are: Anthony Davies, Trinity College Dublin; Steve Rees, GlaxoSmithKline and Lorenz Mayr, Novartis.

Small pore size suits reduction of Mycoplasma in samples

The new Sterilin specialist filtration range enables life scientists to find a syringe filter or filtration unit with a pore size and membrane type to suit their most needs
The new Sterilin range of specialist filtration products is so extensive that life scientists are sure to be able to find a syringe filter or filtration unit with a pore size and membrane type to suit almost every application.

Choosing the correct pore size to suit a specific application is an important consideration when choosing a filter. Sterilin Syringe filters are available with pore sizes of 0.22μm and 0.45μm, and Sterilin Filtration Units in pore sizes of 0.10μm, 0.22μm and 0.45μm. The smallest pore size is ideal for the reduction of Mycoplasma in samples. 0.22μm filters are appropriate for applications such as sterilisation of media and aqueous solutions, filtration of buffers, protein binding and gas filtration/air monitoring. The largest pore size is suitable for the clarification of aqueous solutions and solvents, pre-filtration, filtration of protein-free media, solvents and aggressive chemicals, and for the sterilisation/ultra-cleaning of aqueous solutions.

Fluidigm access array technology helps identify mutations in leukemia

Fluidigm has announced that MLL Munich Leukemia Laboratory ( has used the company's Access Array technology to help it uncover mutations in over 80 percent of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) patients, providing new insights into the molecular heterogeneity of the disease. MLL researchers applied the unique properties of the Fluidigm Access Array System to prepare the samples and barcode the amplicons for next-generation deep-sequencing using 454 sequencing technology.

In a Letter to the Editor entitled "Molecular profiling of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia reveals diverse mutations in >80% of patients with TET2 and EZH2 being of high prognostic relevance" published in the February 22, 2011 issue of Nature LEUKEMIA magazine, researchers found mutations in 81.5 percent of CMML patients providing new insights into the molecular heterogeneity of leukemia. Researchers found that besides alterations in TET2, CBL, ASXL1 and the RAS pathway, EZH2 is targeted by various types of frameshift and point mutations. EZH2 mutations constitute a novel poor prognostic risk group and, moreover, had the strongest clinical impact of all markers analyzed thus far. Therefore, researchers suggest that EZH2 mutational status should be taken into account in future clinical studies of CMML.

"Fluidigm's Access Array System was used to prepare the samples into a total of 1782 bar-coded amplicons in a fast, easy process. Being able to automate this type of procedure with Fluidigm's microfluidic technology provides researchers with the ability to make large, in-depth studies possible, practical and affordable," said Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm president and CEO. "We're excited and gratified that Fluidigm technology could help MLL with their discovery and hope it can lead to new ways to understand and treat leukemia."

Grant Instruments opens regional office in Shanghai, China

Grant Instruments, the supplier of scientific, life sciences and data acquisition products has opened a new Regional Office in Shanghai, China, to further develop operations in China and the surrounding areas.

Plans to increase Grant's presence in China were initiated by favourable market conditions giving an opportunity to promote a premium western brand and expand Grant’s existing distributor network. The office is conveniently located in the Central Business District in Shanghai, with easy access to all major cities and regions.

Grant has appointed James Shi as the Regional Business Development Manager in China. James joins Grant after many successful years working for some of the largest distributors in the scientific instrumentation market in China.

Nathan Neal, Grant’s Sales and Marketing Director, commented: “We believe the opening of Grant’s regional office in Shanghai is a vital step towards realising our business development goals in China. The new office will play an important role for our current and future distributor network, offering the necessary training, marketing and product related support in this very fast developing region.”

Grant Instruments

Latest research on recombinant human albumin at AAPS

Novozymes Biopharma today announced a new scientific poster on recombinant human albumin to be presented at the 2011 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference, May 16-18, San Francisco, California. The poster reveals the results of the company's latest study on the use of recombinant human albumin for the stabilization of therapeutic proteins.

The therapeutic and ultimately the commercial success of a protein-based drug depends upon the ability to produce a formulation with an adequate stability profile. The mechanisms of protein instability are complex and typically multiple excipients are required to address factors such as aggregation, oxidation and nonspecific adsorption during protein formulation.

Quanta Biosciences and IDT partner to develop and produce microRNA PCR

Quanta Biosciences has developed hundreds of assays for quantifying microRNAs, and has entered into a partnership with Integrated DNA Technologies to custom manufacture them.

MicroRNAs have been shown to play a key role in cancer as well as many biological processes including neurological and cardiac function. Quanta’s portfolio of microRNA products will allow scientists to accurately detect and profile mature miRNA (miR) sequences. Early access customers have deployed Quanta’s microRNA assays for toxicology screening during drug development, and quality control of stem-cell pluripotency and differentiation. IDT, the Custom Biology Company and world leader in oligonucleotide synthesis, will produce the assays and supply them through an online catalogue directly to Quanta’s customers.

Quanta Biosciences


Alliance to deliver patient compliance and ePRO services using multiple technologies

The Almac Group and Exco InTouch announced today that Almac's Clinical Technologies business unit, the leading provider of IXRS (Interactive Voice and Web Response) services relating to patient and drug supply management, has formed an exclusive integrated patient management alliance with Exco InTouch, an innovative firm specializing in patient recruitment, retention, compliance and ePRO services. The alliance will be focused on the integration of both technology and processes by both firms to deliver patient management, compliance, retention, and ePRO service offerings to sponsors of clinical trials.

Results from Phase 2 PF-04523655 study in diabetic macular edema

Quark Pharmaceuticals Inc, a pharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of RNAi-based therapeutics, today announced that it has received results from a prospective randomized Phase 2 trial, the DEGAS study. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of PF-04523655 (RTP801I- 14) in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME). 184 patients were randomly assigned to four treatment groups; three dose levels of PF-04523655 (RTP801I-14) (0.4mg, 1mg, and 3mg) or laser. The study was designed with a primary endpoint of mean visual acuity improvements over baseline at 24 months.

Interim results at 12 months showed there were no drug related Serious Adverse Events (SAEs). Following 12 months of treatment with PF-04523655 (RTP801I-14), a dose dependent improvement in visual acuity was observed with the best results achieved at the 3mg dose level. At this dose, the mean improvement from baseline on a visual acuity test was 5.8 letters for all patients enrolled in this dose group while in patients treated with laser photocoagulation control (the current standard of care) visual acuity improved by only 2.4 letters on average (p=0.08). Furthermore, in a separate secondary analysis of the 111 patients who completed the 12 month follow up visit, the mean improvement from baseline on a visual acuity test in the 3mg group was 9.1 letters while in patients treated with laser photocoagulation control visual acuity improved by only 3.2 letters on average (p<0.01).

Mucosis starts clinical study with FluGEM

Dutch biotechnology company Mucosis BV today announced the start of a Phase 1 clinical study with its lead product FluGEM, a novel improved influenza vaccine for the elderly. It is the first-ever study in man with a vaccine candidate based on Mimopath, a proprietary platform technology for developing more potent vaccines.

The clinical study will be conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR, Leiden, the Netherlands). It is designed to test the safety and tolerability of FluGEM, as well as the mucosal and systemic immune responses including correlates of protection against influenza viruses. The trial will involve FluGEM being administered both as droplets in the nose and by intramuscular injection.

BioTek promotes Dr Paul Held to lab manager

BioTek Instruments Inc announces Paul Held's promotion to Lab Manager in BioTek's Applications Laboratory. In this new position, Dr Held will be responsible for day-to-day lab facilities management, the company's applications training program and customer visits in addition to his duties as Principle Scientist.

Dr Held has been with BioTek for over 17 years, and received a PhD in Molecular Biology from Albany Medical College.

"Paul has been an invaluable contributor to the construction, infrastructure acquisition and maintenance of the Applications Lab over its first year," noted Dr. Peter Banks, BioTek's Scientific Director.

BioTek's Applications Laboratory partners with major assay developers to provide cutting-edge assay development and validation. Additionally, the lab develops unique applications for BioTek's microplate instrumentation products in real-lab environments. Many applications developed recently involve cell-based assays using cell lines such as CHO, HEK-293, MCF-7, HepG2, DPX-2, mesothelioma and human primary cells such as hepatocytes and HUVEC. In the past year, over 75 application notes, conference presentations and trade- and peer-reviewed articles have been created towards these goals.

BioTek Instruments Inc