/ News

[Jan 2020] Industry news that captured our attention

Cell & gene therapy, Big data in pharma, Waters acquisition, Top startups to watch, Life sciences hub in Chicago, Lab of the Future, New Agilent-Thermo Fisher partnership, a16z's biology manifesto.


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LabCorp's CRO unit Covance doubles down on cell, gene therapy offerings
From FierceBiotech

TetraScience Take: Two announcements in one week about large players investing in cell & gene therapy. This time, Covance (the CRO unit of diagnostics giant LabCorp) announces a new suite of development offerings to help sponsors reduce time and risk in cell & gene therapy development.

Excerpt: "...These developments are the cutting edge in biomedical R&D right now but are still in the embryonic stages, with deep complexities relating to development, manufacturing and safety. Covance says it will tap its experience to help offer the life sciences industry a close-knit partner and help push on with current and next-gen capabilities in this area.

“With approximately one-third of biopharma’s pipeline focused on precision medicines, it becomes even more critical to find innovative ways to help our customers speed these transformational therapies to the patients who need them,” said Paul Kirchgraber, M.D., Covance’s chief..." Full story

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Real estate group creating $1.1B gene therapy CDMO at former GSK site
From FiercePharma

TetraScience Take: Two notable trends caught our eye in this announcement: 1) more investment in cell & gene therapy commercialization and 2) addition of another CDMO to the ecosystem. We are all about the state-of-the-art digital labs!

Excerpt: "...the partners are building out 86 plasmid, viral vector production, universal cell processing, CGMP testing, process development and cell banking suites at the campus. They also have kicked off a hiring effort through recruiting firm Nucleus Careers for GMP manufacturing and other experts and expects to hire 2,000 employees in the next 30 months..." Full story

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Lab of the Future: Streamlining workflows with smart technology
From Lab Manager

TetraScience Take: Voice assistants, augmented reality (AR), digital twins, robotics. These are just some of today's technologies being applied to help scientists spend less time on manual tasks and more time developing therapeutics. Along with the two companies mentioned in this article, LabTwin and LabFellows, we are proud to accept the mission of creating the digital lab of the future.

Excerpt: "The concept of “lab of the future” can mean a variety of things depending on who you ask, but one consistency is clear: new “smart” technologies are at the forefront.

Applications of smart technologies can be found all around us—from vehicles that sense and alert drivers to other vehicles entering their blind spot, to thermostats that automatically adjust your home’s temperature throughout the day, to voice-activated devices that can inform you about the weather forecast or set reminders for you. However, innovative technologies like these, that make our daily tasks more convenient and safer, have been slow to enter the lab space. Researchers are expected to think creatively, solve complex problems, and unlock the latest breakthroughs, yet are limited by mostly manual, laborious processes and workflows. How can the innovations we utilize in our everyday life be adapted to simplify work in the lab? A new wave of emerging companies is developing solutions..." Full article

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How Big Data Can Give Pharma Industry A New Direction To Success?
From Pharma Tech Outlook

TetraScience Take: Big data is poised to transform pharma in myriad applications from clinical trials to drug reactions to R&D to drug discovery. Similar to building a house without shoring up the foundation first, the key to success for these projects is ensuring your data is prepared for use. In our experience, it usually is not.

Excerpt: "Big data has opened the door of new opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry, which includes enhanced R&D, enhanced clinical trials, and upgraded drug discovery.

FREMONT CA: Big Data is taking big strides in the pharmaceutical industry at an exponential rate. It is helping in streamlining various intricate business processes and enhancing proficiency across the board. No wonder investors from healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are investing heavily in big data. With these constant investments, the pharmaceutical industry aims at developing numerous innovative applications.

Utilizing Big Data in the Pharmaceutical Industry..." Full article

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Waters to Acquire Andrew Alliance - enables core product portfolio with next-generation automation technology
From Business Wire

TetraScience Take: Waters Corp is clearly taking action to help their customers move towards the lab of the future. This acquisition of Andrew Alliance is further evidence. Cloud, robotics, automation - all the key elements are here.

Excerpt: "Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Andrew Alliance, an innovator in specialty laboratory automation technology, including software and robotics. Andrew Alliance’s cloud-native software platform and modern interface dramatically improves the use of automation technology, enabling more scientists to realize the advantages of repeatability and performance for both routine and complex laboratory workflows.

“The acquisition of Andrew Alliance broadens our technology portfolio to include advanced robotics and software that will positively impact our customers’ workflows across pharmaceuticals, life sciences and materials science markets,” commented Chris O’Connell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Waters Corporation. “This move also demonstrates Waters’ commitment to deploy capital to growth-oriented acquisitions that reinforce our specialty strategy and enhance our core business.”" Press release

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Top Life Sciences Startups to Watch in 2020
From BioSpace

TetraScience Take: 50% of the companies listed are located in our hometown, Boston. 👏👏👏 It is exciting to be part of the dynamic, innovative local biopharma community where startups, established giants, and those of us who support their efforts to discover and develop new ways to make us healthier and live longer, more productive lives work together. Cerevel Therapeutics | Anthos Therapeutics | Cyclerion Therapeutics | Thrive Earlier Detection | Ribon Therapeutics | Twentyeight-seven Therapeutics | Verve Therapeutics | Motif FoodWorks Bio | Talaris Therapeutics | Tiburio Therapeutics | Entrada Therapeutics

Excerpt: "...The NextGen Bio Class of 2020 is a stellar group of companies that are already making an enormous impact on the industry now and will continue into the future..." Full list

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Life sciences hub planned for Fulton Market
From Crain's Chicago Business

TetraScience Take: Though we are part of the Boston biopharma community, we are also fans of making R&D (and it's data) more open and available. Great to see Chicago stepping up in building state-of-the-art lab space and fostering a new biopharma community amidst some giants like Abbott, AbbVie, Astellas, and others. Looks like a lot of thought and attention is being paid to the lab space itself - we hope as much detail goes into the lab operations by the tenants.

Excerpt: "...It's led to a chicken-and-egg conundrum that has lingered while innovative startups have skipped town for more nurturing markets: Developers aren't building expensive lab space on the chance that there won't be enough companies to consistently fill their rent rolls, yet companies are leaving because they don't have the necessary space.

"The only way to satisfy the demand is building (space), not talking about it," Trammell Crow Principal Johnny Carlson said. That's why the developer aims to break ground on Fulton Labs this spring on speculation, or without any tenants signed. It still needs City Council approval, but Carlson said financing for the project is lined up and the goal is to open to tenants by the end of next year.

The 16-story building would be "designed to the highest possible laboratory standards by some of the world's most respected life sciences architects, lab designers and engineers," the company said in a statement.

Floors would be column-free and laid out to accommodate lab space as well as offices, and the building would include a slew of amenities such as a rooftop lounge and patio. One floor would be designated as a shared lab and office space to help lure startups..." Full story

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Biopharma’s Lab of the Future Can’t Wait: Connectedness, automation, and digitalization are transforming the biopharma lab—whether you’re ready or not
From Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN)

TetraScience Take: Elements of Lab 4.0 are reality with modern digital capabilities like automation, IoT, robotics, and wearables. Add in trends like vendor collaboration and digitization, and biopharma companies are seeing real gains in lab productivity + efficiency. However, significant hurdles to truly achieve Lab 4.0 still exist, like the gap between data scientists and lab scientists, and the amount of time spent data-wrangling as a result of vendor-proprietary formats. (P.S. we can help with the data-wrangling issue)

Excerpt: "The lab of the future won’t be bounded by walls.” This statement, a distillation of the views expressed at the recent Lab of the Future congress, was delivered by the event’s keynote speaker, Bryn Roberts, PhD, senior vice president, global head of operations, Pharma Research and Early Development, Roche. He went on to explain that connectedness is being enhanced by a range of technologies. Connectedness, he emphasized, will allow vast amounts of data to be gathered outside of the classical laboratory setting.

It’s clear that the take-home message from the Lab of the Future conference is that despite all the technology and automation available, lack of communication and scientists skilled in the right disciplines may be the stumbling blocks to advancing the vision of innovative drug discovery and development..." Full story

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Agilent Expands Cross-Vendor CDS Instrument Control
From Agilent Technologies Press Release

TetraScience Take: Applauding this partnership between Thermo Fisher Scientific and Agilent Technologies! Now mutual customers have the flexibility to choose a chromatography data system from either company—Agilent OpenLab CDS or Thermo Fisher Chromeleon—to control analytical instruments from both organizations. We believe that when scientists can spend more time developing therapeutics, and less time extracting data from chromatoraphy instruments, we all benefit.

Excerpt: ..."The two companies recognize that reliable multivendor instrument control is critical to the successful operation of today’s analytical laboratories. Using a single data system increases lab productivity by saving substantial time managing software, training staff, and making it easier to meet the regulations that govern the lab..." Press Release

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Biology is Eating the World: A Manifesto
From Andreessen Horowitz

TetraScience Take: This manifesto describes why we do what we do at TetraScience - whether it’s the chromatography data, CRO data, bioprocess data or compound or sample information, by activating the flow of experimental data across the Life Sciences R&D ecosystem, we automate the end-to-end data collection, cleansing, and processing; centralize and harmonize disparate data sets; preparing the data for easy consumption by analytics and data science. This work directly impacts drug development, which, in turn, enhances and extends human life.

Excerpt: "We are at the beginning of a new era, where biology has shifted from an empirical science to an engineering discipline. After a millennia of using man-made approaches for controlling or manipulating biology, we have finally begun using nature’s own machinery—through biological engineering—to design, scale, and transform biology. Our ability to engineer biology will fundamentally transform how we diagnose, treat, and manage disease.

This next generation of companies will be built by a new generation of founders who are multidisciplinary, with deep expertise in their domains. The bio companies of the future will take learnings from predecessors in other spaces: consumer, enterprise, fintech, and beyond..." Full story

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