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New Workflow to Provide Scientists with Tools That Enable Single Cell Analysis for Oncology, Immunology and Stem Cell Research

NanoString Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSTG), a provider of life science tools for translational research and molecular diagnostic products, and BD Biosciences, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX), a leading global medical technology company, recently announced a collaboration agreement for the development of a single cell isolation and analysis workflow.

Under the agreement, the companies will jointly develop a workflow using the NanoString nCounter®Analysis System (including the nCounter Single Cell Assay) and the BD Flow Cytometry cell sorter product line (emphasizing the new BD FACSJazz™ Cell Sorting System). The combined workflow will enable single cell gene expression analysis for research applications such as oncology, immunology and stem cell research. Collaboration activities will also include the development of materials documenting the workflow protocol, as well as co-hosting meetings and webinars to educate scientists about the single cell workflow.

“Maximizing both the quantity and quality of data that can be extracted from a single cell is critical to the emerging field of single cell biology. The nCounter Analysis System can analyze entire gene pathways and provides a highly precise and reproducible digital output, making it ideally suited to the task,” said Brad Gray, President and Chief Executive Officer, NanoString Technologies. “The nCounter Analysis System and the BD FACSJazz Cell Sorting System can together provide a powerful and efficient workflow for single cell gene expression analysis.”

“Our collaboration with NanoString Technologies furthers BD’s commitment to providing researchers advanced solutions for cell analysis and isolation,” said Alberto Mas, President, BD Biosciences. “We believe this new sorting workflow will complement the recent and very rapid advances in genomic studies that value the requirement for greater sample integrity for critical single cell analysis.”

NanoString Technologies’ nCounter Analysis System is a multi-application digital detection and counting system with a highly automated and simple workflow. The company’s Single Cell Gene Expression application provides researchers with a highly flexible and sensitive approach to discovering differences in cell-to-cell gene expression profiles.The application enables up to 800 genes to be detected in a single tube.

The BD FACSJazz Cell Sorting System is capable of identifying, characterizing and isolating single or multiple cells – from complex or extremely rare cell populations – and depositing them in 96 and 384 well plates to provide rapid cell isolation, tracking and identification throughout the process.

For more information about NanoString Technologies, the nCounter Analysis System and the nCounter Single Cell Assay, please visit www.nanostring.com.

For more information on the BD FACSJazz Cell Sorting System, please visit www.bdbiosciences.com/facsjazz.

Source: BD Biosciences

MentisCura to Deploy EEG Diagnostics for Dementia at China’s Largest Geriatric Hospital in 2014

MentisCura Diagnostics (www.mentiscura.com) and WanJiaYuan International Geriatric Hospital recently announced the signing of an agreement to implement MentisCura’s proprietary diagnostic tools to improve care for patients with CNS disorders.

Mentiscura’s diagnostics will be part of a state-of-the art technology suite being deployed at the WanJiaYuan International Geriatric Hospital, expected to open in June 2014. The hospital, based in Nanyang in the Henan province, will be a 120,000 square meter, 1200 bed campus, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world to focus solely on setting new standards of quality of managed care for the elderly, with at least 200 beds dedicated to dementia patients. WanJiaYuan International Geriatric Hospital also aims to establish a leadership position in geriatric research through the development of a center of excellence attracting over 100 international experts.

“We are honoured to be associated with a project that is of an unprecedented scale, even by international standards. The high-throughput and non-invasive nature of our electrophysiological analysis makes it uniquely useful in a real world clinical setting, where physicians need to assess patients and make care decisions before these diseases have reached a late and untreatable stage. From a five-minute standard EEG recording, our powerful analytical systems are able to provide immediate diagnostic output, offering genuine clinical benefit and scalability for even the largest facilities,” said Kristinn Gretarsson, CEO of MentisCura.

“Our hospital is committed to addressing the growing burden of care associated with diseases of ageing. We are delighted to be collaborating with MentisCura to use its innovative clinical technologies to guide earlier, lower cost diagnosis. We believe that biomarkers of disease will increasingly play an important role in our diagnostic protocol for dementia, as well as monitoring of disease progression and treatment efficacy,” commented Dr. Jin-Jing Pei, MD, Chief Physician at WanJiaYuan International Geriatric Hospital.

MentisCura offers a complete, integrated service to hospitals and general practitioners through sampling, processing and analysis of patient EEG data. The MentisCura Analysis System is a CE marked diagnostic aid, based on advanced, proprietary EEG-biomarker technology platform that accurately correlates changes in electrophysiology to specific disease pathologies, based on the company’s comprehensive proprietary EEG database for dementia and cognitive disorders. The platform supports diagnoses for most common types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

Source: MentisCura Diagnostics

Life Technologies and RainTree Oncology Services Announce Collaboration to Bring Molecular Tumor Testing to Community Oncologists

Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) and RainTree Oncology Services recently announced they have entered into a collaboration agreement designed to further the advancement of personalized care for cancer patients.

Through the collaboration, RainTree and Life Technologies will seek to make the latest advances in molecular testing available to the broader patient market and will work to develop a streamlined protocol for entering patients into clinical trials for new targeted therapies.

Key elements of the collaboration are:

  • Collaborate on matching oncology patients to clinical trials using a Next Generation Sequencing Oncology screening panel;
  • Develop a clinical trials recruitment database which incorporates RainTree’s broad patient data set, enhanced by other data sources, including Life’s Compendia analytics engine;
  • Educate private payors and health plans about the benefits of Next Generation Sequencing; and
  • Build and market comprehensive product, test and data offerings for clinical research organizations.

“Today’s announcement emphasizes RainTree Oncology Services’ commitment to providing access to cutting edge capabilities to the over 600 community oncologists and approximately 40 practices that we serve,” said Mike Martin, chief executive officer of RainTree. “The world of personalized medicine is moving very fast, and the collaboration with Life Technologies ensures we stay active in the development of advanced molecular diagnostic capabilities to connect our physicians and patients with the latest in therapeutic discovery.”

“Our goal is to ensure that patients in the community setting have the same access to advanced technologies, such as genetic sequencing, as patients in the top academic centers,” said Ronnie Andrews, president of genetic and medical sciences at Life Technologies. “This collaboration also establishes a mechanism for pharmaceutical companies to identify the patients they need for clinical trials to bring new, targeted therapies to market.”

“Life Technologies and RainTree Oncology share a mutual commitment to improving cancer care in the community setting, where the majority of patients are diagnosed and treated,” said Andrews.

Through the collaboration, Life Technologies intends to participate in development of next generation sequencing panels that will allow for deep interrogation of tumors. Additional assays may also be developed under the collaboration. Patient data will be housed in a de-identified format in a proprietary database, which will be made available to pharmaceutical companies to recruit Phase 1 patients, as well as to participating clinical research organizations to support recruitment for later phase trials.

The agreement provides for RainTree and Life Technologies to leverage RainTree’s data sets, and utilize the information to enrich patient populations for early phase clinical trials and apply advanced bioinformatics techniques via Life Technologies’ proprietary Compendia Oncomine® solution to help identify targeted therapeutics for trials on certain tumor genotypes.

More than one half of cancer patients are seen in community oncology practices, according to Inside Oncology, Academic Cancer Centers (NCCC). The more than 500 new targeted compounds currently in development are leading to a large unmet need for recruitment of patients based on specific molecular profiles.

“Efficiently identifying clinical trial candidates for new targeted therapies has presented an obstacle in bringing new drugs to market,” said Dr. Jeff Patton, chief medical officer of RainTree and chief executive officer of Tennessee Oncology. “Through our collaboration with Life Technologies, we will be able to tap into new genetic information that, along with our existing data sets, will help guide patients to enroll in clinical trials based on the genetic signatures of their tumors.”

Source: Life Technologies

PerkinElmer Expands Prenatal Screening Test Offerings, Introducing First Early Onset Preeclampsia Screening Test in the U.S.

PerkinElmer, a global leader in human and environmental health and an innovator in the field of prenatal screening for more than thirty years, announced today the first available early onset preeclampsia screening test in the United States. The PreeclampsiaScreen™ | T1 serum screening test enables physicians to more precisely detect asymptomatic patients in the first trimester of pregnancy who are at high risk for developing the dangerous condition, allowing for earlier identification, management and intervention. Early onset preeclampsia is a potentially serious condition that affects 0.5% of all pregnancies, often contributing more to the pregnant mother’s and baby’s risks of morbidity and mortality than does the late form of the disorder.

“This first of its kind screen is our latest commitment to providing clinicians with new, innovative ways to address some of today’s most challenging prenatal clinical scenarios,” said Jim Corbett, Senior Vice President and President, Diagnostics and Life Sciences & Technology for PerkinElmer. “Together with our recent advances, including offering a non-invasive prenatal test based on cell-free fetal DNA, plus a wide range of prenatal testing from biochemical screening to SNP microarray testing to detect birth defects and chromosome abnormalities, we’re giving physicians effective new tools for patient management.”

According to Dr. Jiri Sonek, MD RDMS, President, Fetal Medicine Foundation USA, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from Wright State University, “Preeclampsia is one of the remaining great challenges in obstetrics. It is a major cause of maternal, fetal, and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Fortunately, some physicians may recommend a simple and inexpensive intervention to reduce the risk of preeclampsia which is available in the form of low-dose aspirin. However, this treatment is effective only if begun early in pregnancy. That is why first trimester screening is such a critical component of preeclampsia prevention.”

Early onset preeclampsia is defined as preeclampsia, a sudden increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine, which leads to delivery of the fetus prior to 34 weeks’ gestation. If found early, options such as increased monitoring, modified activity, bed rest and medication can help reduce or avoid complications related to early onset preeclampsia.

PreeclampsiaScreen™ | T1 is administered during the first trimester of pregnancy through a simple blood test to detect three biochemical markers in the mother’s blood: PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A); PlGF (placental growth factor) and AFP (alpha fetoprotein) that, when evaluated collectively with personal demographic data, provide an individual risk of developing early onset preeclampsia. Physicians have the option to provide two additional biophysical measurements for their patients — mean arterial pressure (MAP) and uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index (UtAD-PI) – each increasing the sensitivity of the screen when included in the testing protocol.

Source: PerkinElmer

BioTime’s Subsidiary OncoCyte Corporation Publishes Data on the Gene FSIP1 as a Breast Cancer-Specific Marker

BioTime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: BTX) and BioTime’s subsidiary OncoCyte Corporation recently announced the publication of a scientific report on the gene FSIP1 and its potential as a marker for breast cancer. The paper, published in the peer-reviewed journal Biomarkers in Medicine and available online today, describes the microarray-based approach used to identify FSIP1 as a breast cancer biomarker with significantly elevated expression in breast tumors expressing the estrogen receptor, which represents 70-80% of all breast cancers. In addition to elevated gene expression, FSIP1 protein was also expressed within tumors at significant levels whereas little to no expression was found in most normal tissues, including healthy breast tissue. Combined, these findings lay the foundation for novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, including the measurement of FSIP1 in the blood as a screen for the presence of cancer, as well as targeting of FSIP1 as an antigen in cancer immunotherapy approaches.

Based on large unmet need, market size, and data generated thus far from patient sample screening, OncoCyte is initially focusing its efforts on identifying biomarkers that may be used to detect and monitor breast and bladder cancers. OncoCyte has been developing, characterizing, and manufacturing monoclonal antibodies for use in detecting breast cancer, in preparation for the initiation of the first clinical study of PanC-DxTM and is currently working with a select group of cancer researchers to finalize a study protocol for submission to the institutional review boards of the study sites. If clinical trials are successful, OncoCyte intends to launch PanC-DxTM as an in vitro diagnostic (IVD) in Europe before seeking FDA approval required to market PanC-DxTM in the United States.