Lab roundup: Acquisitions, partnerships, grants and personnel
8 Feb 2023
Updates on changes featuring Ziath, Azenta, UCL, Automata, bit.bio, ProPharma, British Heart Foundation, Bio-Rad, Cytek Biosciences, ValiRx, Tecan, Singular Genomics, Aptamer and BaseCure Therapeutics…
Sample management specialists Ziath has been bought by the American Azenta Inc. Founded in 2005, its 2D barcode readers are an important component in laboratory automation for pharmaceutical, biotech and academic customers. "As a new part of Azenta, Ziath will enhance offerings which support the entire lifecycle of the sample – from specimen collection to sample registration, storage and processing," said Mitch Coyne, SVP and General Manager of the Life Sciences Products business.
Two new therapies pioneered by researchers at University College London that could help transform the lives of those living with motor neuron disease (MND) have received grants totalling £1million. Jointly provided by medical research charity LifeArc, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation they are the first to be awarded as part of the £1.5 million Motor Neuron Disease Translational Fund established by the trio to accelerate research that could lead to developing new treatments or repurposing of existing ones. Dr Pietro Fratta of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, together with the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator, aims to develop a gene therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as MND. Dr Barney Bryson and Professor Linda Greensmith of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, explore an innovative treatment that has the potential to restore lost muscle function and prevent further muscle wastage in MND patients.
Life science lab robotics and automation company Automata will partner bit.bio to automate a key aspect of the manufacturing process of the Cambridge spin-out’s iPSC-derived human cell products. Automata’s expertise in lab automation at scale will be employed to streamline part of bit.bio’s production of reprogrammed human cells, to free up scientists’ time, reduce human errors and increase batch to batch reliability.
Leading life sciences service company, the American ProPharma Group has acquired British firm Digital Lab Consulting (DLC). Purchase coincides with a key period for UK clinical trials after the end of the EU Clinical Trials Regulation one-year transition period last month. ProPharma, a global leader in regulatory, clinical, and quality services for the life sciences industry, said the move enabled it to operate one localised system to manage across the EU. It also allows ProPharma to expand its R&D technology services to include DLC’s specialism in digital transformation, plus strategic roadmap development, system selection and high-level business analysis consulting.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) announced Medical Director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani will step down from his role during this year. Since 2016, Samani has headed research and medical strategy at the UK’s leading funder of non-commercial cardiovascular research. The period resulted in initiatives such as the BHF Data Science Centre and £30 million global research competition, the Big Beat Challenge.
Bio-Rad has partnered with Cytek Biosciences, enhancing high-parameter applications on Cytek’s Aurora and Northern Lights flow cytometry systems with access to Bio-Rad’s StarBright Dye portfolio. Bio-Rad’s Starbright Dyes will be available to Cytek for development and commercialisation of single vial reagents and multicolour panels for use on > 1,500 Cytek Full Spectrum Profiling™ (FSP™) instruments, already deployed across more than 40 countries. The firms claimed the collaboration would permit better resolution and a deeper understanding of cell populations.
Life science company focused on early-stage cancer therapeutics and women's health ValiRx has taken the lease on laboratory and office facilities at MediCity Nottingham as part of a strategy to launch a translational Contract Research Organisation (tCRO). The site (pictured), which includes 910 sq ft of laboratory space for up to eight lab allow the firm to conduct all testing in-house for internal and third-party use.
Tecan’s new partnership with Singular Genomics enables use of the turnkey MagicPrep NGS system to create sequencing-ready libraries for the G4 Sequencing Platform. The firms said the move combined Tecan’s expertise in laboratory automation, genomics and bioinformatics with Singular Genomics’ fast, flexible and highly accurate sequencing technology for a simpler lab operation.
Aptamer Group is teaming with BaseCure Therapeutics to develop Optimer-targeted gene therapies, stating that the ability to precisely target gene therapies, like siRNA-based therapeutics, to specific cells and tissues using Optimers presented new opportunities for gene therapy. Biotech BaseCure Therapeutics is focused on the discovery and development of innovative siRNA-based medicines. Aptamer will work with it to pinpoint Optimer binders that identify specific cell types that might be developed as potential delivery vehicles for siRNA uptake into target cells and tissues. siRNA therapeutics form the largest portion of the rapidly developing gene therapy market, but targeting the therapeutic to the desired cell or organ within the body and further cellular internalisation to allow its gene silencing function remains a challenge.