Posts Tagged by biotech

Life Science PR: 3 Companies Validate NGS Sample Prep Workflow

MULTI-SITE STUDY VALIDATES END-TO-END RNA-SEQ SAMPLE PREP WORKFLOW FOR HUMAN WHOLE BLOOD CLINICAL SAMPLES
System integrates PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies innovations to ensure reliable, reproducible, cost-effective RNA-Sequencing analysis. Corporate study alliance model critical to standardization, bringing genomics to the clinic.

San Carlos, CA and Piscataway, NJ, July 15, 2015— A multi-site study has clinically validated an end-to-end workflow for the collection, storage, transport and preparation of human whole blood samples for RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq). The study, initiated in January 2015, integrated products from PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies, which worked collaboratively with RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers University to measure the system’s efficacy for transcriptome profiling with clinical samples.

“We have determined that the PreAnalytiX/NuGEN integrated workflow ensures reproducible, accurate and sensitive results in RNA-Seq of whole blood. Importantly, this integrated workflow enables gene expression from total RNA, allowing researchers to study both protein coding and regulatory transcripts from human whole blood,” said Dr. Andrew Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, who led the study. Brooks is also an associate professor of Genetics at Rutgers University and directs the Bionomics Research and Technology Center at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute there.  Brooks will outline the study results on Tuesday, July 14 at the  International Leaders in Biobanking Conference, in Toronto.

“This study is critical for clinical researchers because it demonstrates that by using the combined PreAnalytiX and NuGEN workflow, scientists in laboratories around the world can confidently share not only their data but also their samples,” Brooks said.  “And, by joining forces to validate the combination of their proprietary technologies, PreAnalytiX and NuGEN have taken the lead with RUCDR to deliver the standardization needed for broader adoption of genomics in the clinic.”

Brooks explained that total RNA derived from patient blood samples is used for a myriad of clinical genomics applications—such as discovery and analysis of disease-related biomarkers, identification of new therapeutic targets and monitoring disease progression and treatment. But there are factors that present challenges to data integrity when using whole blood. Collection, storage, purification, handling and transport methods may vary. Nucleic acids can degrade during handling and processing, resulting in unreliable results and bias in transcript abundance. Whole blood also contains high levels of uninformative ribosomal RNA and reticulocyte globin RNA, which can reduce sequencing efficiencies and increase costs.  Moreover, variation between sites and operators makes it difficult to standardize results among researchers and laboratories. “If researchers across multiple sites obtain different results, we need to be sure the variations are attributable to changes in the biology and not the technology,” he said.

At the Biobanking Congress, Brooks reported tight correlation in results across three sites in New Jersey with multiple operators, using several nanograms of total RNA from each of 10 subjects. That is, using PreAnalytiX technology for extraction, storage and transportation of samples and NuGEN technology for library formation and depletion of ribosomal RNA and globin prior to whole transcriptome analysis, the study team found high reproducibility of results across sites, operators and equipment. “The combined workflow led to reproducible whole blood collection and storage; reproducible and robust RNA extraction; reproducible and consistent library creation; and tight performance correlations across and within sites,” he said.

“This integrated sample prep workflow will be important for scientists seeking new genetic biomarkers for disease. It will be valuable to pharmaceutical clinical trials for determining if a therapeutic leads to genetic changes in a particular cancer. And it is  important to the future of clinical research because it allows the development of guidelines and standards for scientists who want to share samples, not just data, globally, across sites and experiments,” Brooks said.  “Without such standardization, many results might never advance to the clinic.”

The study used the PreanalytiX  PAXgene Blood RNA System for whole blood collection, storage and RNA extraction and NuGEN’s Insert Dependent Adaptor Cleavage (InDA-C) technology from the NuGEN Ovation Human Blood RNA-Seq System  to prepare strand-specific RNA-Seq libraries and for ribosomal/globin depletion. RUCDR Infinite Biologics oversaw sample collection, processing and data analysis.

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies is the leader in providing solutions which make biological samples accessible for genomic analysis, enabling scientists to capture the truest biology achievable, independent of the quantity or quality of the samples. The company has commercialized numerous proprietary DNA and RNA sample preparation products for use in research and diagnostic applications. Founded in 2000, NuGEN Technologies, Inc. is privately held and headquartered in San Carlos, CA. For more information please visit www.nugen.com

About RUCDR Infinite Biologics

RUCDR offers a complete and integrated selection of biological sample processing, analysis and biorepository services to government agencies, academic institutions, foundations and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies within the global scientific community. RUCDR provides DNA, RNA and cell lines with clinical data to hundreds of research laboratories for studies on mental health and developmental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and digestive, liver and kidney diseases. RUCDR completed an $11.8 million expansion and renovation of its facilities in May 2013. Read more at www.rucdr.org

NuGEN and Ovation are registered trademarks of NuGEN Technologies, Inc.. PreAnalytiX and PAXgene are registered trademarks of PreAnalytiX GmbH.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning Life Science PR and thought leadership firm based in Cambridge, MA. 

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Dick Pirozzolo on “Next Level PR”

GUEST POST BY
Dick Pirozzolo

Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg are among the savvy CEOs who get better and more powerful press coverage.

It’s because they use Next Level PR principles that rely on these factors to generate news: controversy, humor story, consistency and simplicity  – the same principles you can use to promote and grow your company.

For details log onto my latest artricle on Next Level PR strategies in First America Startup or read excerpts below.

If Your Company Wants to Make Big News Use ‘Next Level PR’

Controversy – A colleague just told me that medical PR was tough now because of all the controversy over The Affordable Care Act.

What! Now is the time to jump in with two feet and take full advantage of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare to generate news for those who want to become leaders.

More than anything, journalists love controversy. We recently got a cover story in The PCB Magazine on how manufacturers of printed circuit boards for medical devices and an automated medication monitoring system will benefit from the Affordable Care Act with supporting comments by the nation’s leading medical ethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Funny –

There are times when funny will get you a lot more positive exposure than deadpan. Think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut in front of David Letterman or Michelle Obama getting her groove with Jimmy Fallon.
Washington Post humorist and syndicated columnist Gene Weingarten once interviewed our client Hilla Ovil-Brenner, founder of WhiteSmoke, a turbo-charged spellchecker.

Weingarten quipped that Ovil-Brenner probably didn’t like it when people learned to spell because it would hurt her business.
She quipped back, “If I sold plus-size fashions, that would not mean I want women to be fat, it means I want them to feel good, look good and be successful in their lives. Just like WhiteSmoke helps people….”

The interview was hilarious and got picked up by newspapers nationwide. Product sales soared.

Story – 

Too often organizations forget that their CEO is a real-life character whose heart, skills, challenges, obstacles and conflicts make for far more interesting reading than canned quotes about how, “Delighted we are to announce Jean as the new VP engineering at Techno Pants Corp.”

Stop sanitizing CEOs. Let them be human, let them talk about how they resolve conflicts with the board of directors, investors or the government and their personal and business relationships. Make them come alive. We love knowing about Ben and Jerry, Jobs and Wosniak, Bill and Melinda and Richard Branson because we see them as real people.

Quick, who knows the CEO of Dell or American Airlines?

Consistency – 

While representing institutional investment managers, a journalist once mused, “How come 75% of all money managers are in the top quartile when it comes to their performance news releases?” That’s because the poor performers hide in the weeds when their numbers are down and emerge only when their numbers are up.

Want to win the respect of journalists, build credibility and generate positive press over the long haul? Be accessible when the news is bad. Get it out, get it over with and move on. When it’s time to deliver good news, you will be far more credible and will have a bond of trust with the editors and reporters that results in positive press.

Simplicity – 

Keep it simple. How many times do we use jargon like OEM, Forex or Q4 without thinking that the journalist who makes the first cut on our news release might be new to manufacturing or finance to say nothing of the reader. Journalism critics note that The Wall Street Journal, whose readers are supposed to be mostly business types, explains every term that is likely to be unfamiliar to the layperson.

Kim Wallace of the market research firm Wallace & Washburn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of “Why People Don’t Buy Things,” puts it this way. “Liken new concepts to what we already know. Let’s say you want to reach customers who had never seen snow tires before and wanted to explain their benefit. If you say, ‘They are like snowshoes for your car,’ everyone will get it instantly.

Consider these news-making tactics when it comes to creating the kind of awareness that establishes your company as an influential leader and building greater awareness and brand equity.

That’s Next Level PR!

Dick Pirozzolo is Managing Director of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations in Boston, founded in 1980, and a Media Bistro Teacher. His firm figured prominently in promoting startup companies that have become publicly held or been acquired by major public corporations. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Nantucket.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in PR, marketing, content and thought leadership for clients in healthcare,  science,  biotech, technoilogy and energy. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, products and technologies, anywhere.

With Google Panda…for SEO & content marketing, what’s a small company to do?

panda Free digital photos.net
In some ways, I’m pleased with the new (ish) google algorithm for SEO–tho no one is quite sure  exactly what it is.

I’m told it enhances the need for “real” content and makes it much more difficult to game the system because it  filters out spammy black hat stuff, repetitive key words and nonsense content aimed at getting sites to the top of the first page of Google search.

But after  listening to recent Cision Webinar on content marketing I feel daunted.    For search engine optimization (SEO) not only do say you need to post 3 blogs a day, Cision says,  but also you must focus on a single keyword, making it extremely clear to search spiders that you only do one thing.

But what about someone like me—a creative person who is not a twenty-something with just a single product or skill?

Or  my company, HarrisCom, for example–if you’ll pardon the self-serving plug?

We offer a variety of communication services–and there’s not a single word to describe them all.  In years past, “PR” might have filled the bill–but, now, PR means many things to many people. And it now includes aspects of advertising, social media, thought leadership, integrated marketing,  promotions, media relations, training, writing, editing, press release–and we also now offer clinical relations, digital media outreach.   Plus, we do all of the above for clients in healthcare, life science, biotech, energy…You get the picture.

Not to mention the time it takes to post three  non-BS blogs a day.

I ask you–and  Google–  and SEO experts–given the restraints/constraints/requirements of  the PANDA algorithm, what’s a multitalented person–or a small company– to do?

 

Comments/responses/answers welcome!

Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group: An award-winning public relations and market development firm specializing in media relations, thought leadership, content marketing, etc. etc. etc. for companies and organizations in healthcare, biomedical science, technology and energy, worldwide. 

Reimbursement, Regulatory Expert Edward Berger Joins HarrisCom Advisory Board

I’m more than happy to announce that Ed Berger, CEO at Larchmont Strategic Advisors,  has joined the Harris Communications Group Advisory Board.

Ed has worked for nearly 30 years in healthcare , medical technology and  life science fields.  His expertise encompasses biomedical regulatory and reimbursement policy as well as corporate communications.

He  brings a wealth of experience  and insight to our group and to our clients.

As a member of the senior management teams of Fresenius Medical Care, Thermo Cardiosystems and ABIOMED, Dr. Berger exercised responsibility for strategically sensitive communications with government agencies, news media and investors and served as principal corporate spokesperson through numerous crises and other high visibility events.

Through his consultancy, Larchmont Strategic Advisors, he helps life sciences companies create and implement integrated strategies to address the obstacles and opportunities they face in their efforts to secure public and private insurer coverage and optimal reimbursement for new or evolving technologies.

Focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of public policy, corporate strategy development, and internal and external advocacy, Dr. Berger helps clients to deal effectively with the strategic challenges posed by the rapidly evolving healthcare regulatory and policy environment.  His clients have included companies in fields such as mechanical circulatory support, cardiology, orthopedics, neural monitoring and neuromodulation, gastrointestinal surgery, pulmonary medicine, nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory testing, and personalized medicine.

Dr. Berger is a member of Mass Medical Angels, a mentor in Boston University’s IGNITE program, and Past President of the Medical Development Group, a 400 member professional association of individuals professionally committed to the medical device and related life sciences business sectors.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard College, and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University, where he was later Assistant Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Urban Affairs and Planning program.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is the founder and managing director of the Harris Communications Group — an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership   for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology and energy, worldwide.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, HarrisCom  on the pulse of some of the most innovative ideas, technologies and products,  anywhere. 

 

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Clarifying CIC Venture Cafe’s New Policy

Just spoke with Venture Cafe manager Chris Myles, who said he’ll  be providing more information about Venture Cafe’s new incarnation shortly–including the list of affiliated organizations whose members may attend without applying.   Those do include the Cambridge Innovation Center and various entrepreneurial groups…

Chris said the The Cafe’s new incarnation is not meant to be elite or exclusionary–but rather to encourage participation from the innovation community. More to follow.

 

–Anita Harris

 

Anita Harris is the founder and president of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. HarrisCom is a strategic communications firm specializing in public relations, thought leadership, marketing communications and social media for emerging companies and research institutes in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide.   She also blogs at New Cambridge Observer.  

Harris Communications Advisor Robert Langer Founds Blend Therapeutics

Life Science Startup to  Target Multiple Disease Mechanisms

I’m pleased to report that Harris Communications Group Advisory Board Member Robert Langer of MIT is involved in yet another life science startup.

It’s a biotech company called “Blend Therapeutics” that will develop a new class of medicines possessing  “unprecedented ability to precisely control each agent’s therapeutic action in concert… ”  The goal is to   “predictably, effectively, and safely target the multiple mechanisms underlying complex diseases, ” according to a press release.

Blend was founded by three leaders in the fields of chemistry and nanomedicine:  Langer, who is David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;   Stephen J. Lippard, PhD, Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT; and Omid Farokhzad, MD, Director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials and Associate Professor of Anesthesia, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Blend has received financial backing from  Flagship Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and NanoDimension.

Langer said:  ” We see unparalleled opportunity to translate innovative science into important drugs for patients in need, and we’re excited by the strength of our founding investors and management who share our vision of building a successful biotechnology company that is foremost about improving the lives of patients.”

In addition to Langer, Lippard and Farokhhzad,  Blend’s  Scientific Advisory Board includes eight thought leaders in the fields of chemistry, cancer biology, immunology and medicine:

• Dennis Ausiello, MD, Chief of Medicine and Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

• Philip Kantoff, MD, Chief Clinical Research Officer and Professor of Medicine, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
• Alexander Klibanov, PhD, Novartis Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
• Ulrich von Andrian, MD, PhD, Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology, Harvard Medical School
• Bruce R. Zetter, PhD, Charles Nowiszerski Professor of Cancer Biology, Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.

MaestroTM is a trademark of Blend Therapeutics, Inc. More information is available at http://www.blendtx.com.

 

—Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is the president of  Harris Communications Group, a  Cambridge, MA  public relations firm specializing in strategic marketing communications,  thought leadership and social media for companies involved in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. She also blogs at newcambridgeobsersver.com.