Richard Leach Joins Empirical Bioscience Board of Directors

Contact: Matthew Gryczan
SciTech Communications LLC
PHONE: 616.916.8158
E-MAIL: mgryczan@scitechcommunications.net

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan February 17, 2014 – Empirical Bioscience LLC has elected Richard Leach, Ph.D., Vice President of Business Development at Complete Genomics Inc. and an expert in human genome sequencing, to its board of directors, effective immediately.

With more than 18 years of experience in genome sequencing and its application in fields such as personalized medicine, Leach will give Empirical Bioscience an unparalleled perspective on how to grow its existing and prospective markets for reagents used in polymerase chain reactions (PCR) of human, animal and plant DNA, company officials said.

“We are very pleased to welcome Rick to the Empirical Bioscience board,” said Craig Pippel, Chairman of the Board of Empirical Bioscience, based in Grand Rapids, Mich. “He brings an international perspective and an authentic understanding of human genome sequencing that will keep us on the right track in this rapidly evolving industry. We think Rick will prove to be an invaluable resource as we bring Empirical Bioscience to its full potential.”

Leach, who holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, said he was enthused by the potential of Empirical Bioscience to become the pre-eminent supplier of high-grade molecular biology products that have been optimized for use in next generation sequencing, translational research, agricultural applications, clinical diagnostics and education.

“In a relatively short time, Empirical Bioscience has grown from a two-man startup to a respected supplier of high-quality reagents,” said Leach, 45. “I am honored to join such a fast-growing leader in this field and add to its momentum.”

For the past three years, Leach has served as an officer at Complete Genomics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that used proprietary technology to sequence more than 15,000 whole human genomes for research customers. Before joining Complete Genomics, Leach was vice president for five years at deCODE genetics, a Reykjavik, Iceland-based bio-pharmaceutical company that developed a personal genome scan to enable individuals to determine their susceptibility to a range of common diseases and other traits.

He also served as scientific and business consultant for five years at the Shady Grove Center for Preimplantation Genetics in Rockville, Md., founder and Chief Science Officer at Teneo Sciences, senior field applications scientist at Affymetrix Inc., scientist in the Division of Experimental Therapeutics at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and visiting scientist at the National Cancer Institute.

Formerly known as Syzygy Biotech, please visit Empirical Bioscience’s website at http://Empirical Bioscience.com/ for more information. The company recently introduced its rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix, an environmentally safe, ready-to-use hot-start qPCR mixture, to round out its line of offerings that includes the Taq 2x MeanGreen Master Mix, a ready-to-use 2x mixture of Taq DNA Polymerase, dNTPs, buffers and magnesium for efficient PCR amplification.

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©2014 Empirical Bioscience LLC. All rights reserved. MeanGreen is a registered trademark of Empirical Bioscience LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CBS DETROIT: No More Syzygy Biotech…

By Matt Roush

One of the weirdest names in Michigan biotech is gone. Syzygy Biotech in Grand Rapids has changed his name to Empirical Bioscience LLC. The company says the name change better reflects its industry emphasis. Fair enough, but I bet the old name was just a distraction. The company’s new website is http://www.empiricalbioscience.com.

The company markets reagents used by research centers, universities and diagnostic labs nationwide. The products are used in gene sequencing, translational research, agricultural applications, clinical diagnostics and education. Said Empirical Bioscience board chairman Craig Pippel: “The word empirical means making decisions based on valid observations, and we observe where our customers are headed and anticipate their needs. Our top notch staff of experts in polymerase chain reactions know how to formulate master mixes that reduce steps for experimenters and increase gel resolutions in gels to product publication quality images.” Labs nationwide are using Empirical Bioscience reagents to perform PCR research that can involve mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects and bacteria. In one instance, a researcher is using a TAq mixture to detect the presence of Asian carp DNA in the waters of the Great Lakes to track the northward migration of the fish before they are caught. (The word syzygy, meanwhile, has several meanings, including “straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system,” often loosely used to describe interesting configurations of planets in general. In biology, it means the pairing of chromosomes in meiosis, and in poetry, it can mean a combination of metric units.)

Visit Matt’s blog on the CBS Detroit News site…

Syzygy Biotech Changes Name to Empirical Bioscience LLC to Reflect its Emphasis for Life Sciences Industry

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan February 4, 2014 – Syzygy Biotech Inc. is rebranding itself with a new name and website as Empirical Bioscience LLC to better reflect its mission in serving the rapidly changing life sciences industry. All inquiries and references to Syzygy Biotech will be redirected immediately to the Empirical Bioscience website at www.EmpiricalBioscience.com

Company officials said nothing will change in the way Empirical Bioscience manufactures and markets its full line of quality reagents used by research facilities, universities, and diagnostic labs nationwide, but the new name emphasizes its ability to anticipate what chemical tools those customers need as the life sciences industry evolves.

In less than four years, Empirical Bioscience has developed a range of high-grade molecular biology products that have been optimized for use in next generation sequencing, translational research, agricultural applications, clinical diagnostics and education.

“The word ‘empirical’ means making decisions based on valid observations, and we observe where our customers are headed and anticipate their needs,” said Craig Pippel, Chairman of the Board of Empirical Bioscience, based in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Our top notch staff of experts in polymerase chain reactions (PCR) know how to formulate master mixes that reduce steps for experimenters and increase gel resolution in gels to produce publication quality images.

“Our MeanGreen Master Mix is a perfect example of how we anticipate the market. We developed MeanGreen from scratch to save our customers valuable time and drastically cut their chances of causing errors in the lab due to contamination, wrong concentrations and improper pipetting.”

Pippel said one university researcher switched to using an Empirical Bioscience custom master mix for his research in a cure for Alzheimer’s disease after he lost time and money trying to mix his own TAq recipe with the help of student research assistants who inadvertently introduced contaminants or mixed the wrong concentrations of components.

Empirical Bioscience rigorously enforces lot-to-lot consistency during the manufacture of its products, which provides superior reagents that greatly diminish the chances that experiments will yield false negatives or false positives due to contamination. Those high standards in manufacturing take the guesswork out of whether reagents used for experiments have contaminating DNA or residual nuclease activity, Pippel said.

Labs nationwide are using Empirical Bioscience reagents to perform PCR research that can involve mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects and bacteria. In one instance, a researcher is using a TAq mixture to detect the presence of Asian carp DNA in the waters of the Great Lakes to track the northward migration of the fish before they are caught.

Empirical Bioscience has also developed what it believes to be the most effective G-C enhancer on the market today for research of G-C rich targets and a customized version that can multiplex to save experiment steps. Due to their extensive experience in developing reagents for challenging PCR, Empirical Bioscience experts have been able to develop standard and customized multiplex products to save technicians time as they conduct their experiments.

“Our new name even reflects our company’s new tag line: ‘Observe the difference,’ in our products,” Pippel said.

For more information on Empirical Bioscience, please visit the company’s website at www.EmpiricalBioscience.com The company recently introduced its rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix, an environmentally safe, ready-to-use hot-start qPCR mixture, to round out its line of offerings that includes the Taq 2x MeanGreen Master Mix, a ready-to-use 2x mixture of Taq DNA Polymerase, dNTPs, and buffers for efficient PCR amplification.

New Environmentally-Friendly Reagent Offers Real-Time PCR and Stronger Signaling Capabilities

Syzygy Biotech™, a company that produces high-grade PCR reagents and enzymes, announced today that it has introduced rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix, an environmentally-safe, ready to use hot-start qPCR mixture specifically formulated with high quality components to offer superior safety, speed, and signaling capabilities.

EvaGreen® dye was purposely selected for this formulation because it is cell membrane impermeable making it a non-mutagenic, non-cytotoxic PCR dye that’s safe for aquatic life, safe for handling, and can be directly disposed of down the drain. Similar master mixes typically utilize SYBR® green dyes that are mutagenic. EvaGreen® also helps rEVAlution produce signals that are stronger than the SYBR® green dyes. As a Syzygy Biotechcustomer noted “I compared rEVAlution [to] a competitor SYBR®, and found CT values that are very similar, but [the] signals are four times stronger.”

In addition, Syzygy FlashTaq HotStart, a chemically-modified hot-start Taq DNA polymerase recognized for its rapid activation and high level of compatibility was selected for use in the formulation.

Continue reading at LabBulletin…

Syzygy Biotech™ Launches rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix

Syzygy Biotech™ Launches rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix: New Environmentally-Friendly Reagent Offers Real-Time PCR…

Read more at LabBulletin Twitter…

Syzygy Biotech rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix

rEVAlution 2X qPCR Master Mix is a ready to use hot-start qPCR master mix with EvaGreen® and FlashTaq HotStart, a hot start Taq polymerase. A 25mM ROX reference dye is supplied separately for use with some real time instruments.

Continue reading at Lab Wrench…

Environmentally Friendly qPCR Mixture

rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix is an environmentally safe, ready-to-use, hot-start qPCR mixture specifically formulated with high-quality components to offer superior safety, speed, and signaling. EvaGreen® dye was selected for this formulation because it’s cell–impermeable, making it a non-mutagenic, non-cytotoxic PCR dye that’s safe for aquatic life and safe for handling and can be directly disposed of down the drain. Similar master mixes typically utilize SYBR® green dyes that are mutagenic. EvaGreen also helps rEVAlution produce signals that are stronger than the SYBR green dyes. In addition, Syzygy FlashTaq HotStart, a chemically-modified hot-start Taq DNA polymerase recognized for its rapid two-minute activation time and high level of compatibility, was also selected for use in rEVAlution.

Continue reading at MLO…

Syzygy Biotech™ Launches rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix

Syzygy Biotech™, a company that produces high-grade PCR reagents and enzymes, announced today that it has introduced rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix, an environmentally-safe, ready to use hot-start qPCR mixture specifically formulated with high quality components to offer superior safety, speed, and signaling capabilities.

EvaGreen® dye was purposely selected for this formulation because it is cell membrane impermeable making it a non-mutagenic, non-cytotoxic PCR dye that’s safe for aquatic life, safe for handling, and can be directly disposed of down the drain. Similar master mixes typically utilize SYBR® green dyes that are mutagenic. EvaGreen® also helps rEVAlution produce signals that are stronger than the SYBR® green dyes. As a Syzygy Biotech customer noted “I compared rEVAlution [to] a competitor SYBR®, and found CT values that are very similar, but [the] signals are four times stronger.”

In addition, Syzygy FlashTaq HotStart, a chemically-modified hot-start Taq DNA polymerase recognized for its rapid activation and high level of compatibility was selected for use in the formulation.

Continue reading at BioSpace…

BIO SPACE: Empirical Bioscience Launches rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Empirical Bioscience™, a company that produces high-grade PCR reagents and enzymes, announced today that it has introduced rEVAlution qPCR Master Mix, an environmentally-safe, ready to use hot-start qPCR mixture specifically formulated with high quality components to offer superior safety, speed, and signaling capabilities.

EvaGreen® dye was purposely selected for this formulation because it is cell membrane impermeable making it a non-mutagenic, non-cytotoxic PCR dye that’s safe for aquatic life, safe for handling, and can be directly disposed of down the drain. Similar master mixes typically utilize SYBR® green dyes that are mutagenic. EvaGreen® also helps rEVAlution produce signals that are stronger than the SYBR® green dyes. As a Empirical Bioscience customer noted “I compared rEVAlution [to] a competitor SYBR®, and found CT values that are very similar, but [the] signals are four times stronger.”

In addition, Empirical Bioscience FlashTaq HotStart, a chemically-modified hot-start Taq DNA polymerase recognized for its rapid activation and high level of compatibility was selected for use in the formulation.

The Empirical Bioscience FlashTaq HotStart enzyme in the Master Mix can be activated in just two minutes versus the ten minutes of activation time required by many competitors’ formulations.

Continue reading at BioSpace.com…

Target Enrichment for Clinical and Molecular Diagnostics

By Anar Murphy, Ph.D., GEN Genetic & Biotechnology News

Target-enrichment technologies offer increasingly powerful and cost-effective ways to detect various pathogens, disease biomarkers, and toxins by molecular amplification or direct capture in clinical diagnostics, basic research, and industrial applications.

The latest developments in the field were discussed earlier this year at two conferences—CHI’s “Sample Prep and Target Enrichment in Molecular Diagnostics” and the Knowledge Foundation’s “Sample Prep”.

Mark Eshoo, Ph.D., director of new technology at Ibis Biosciences, a subsidiary of Abbott Molecular, talked about an isothermal amplification, broad-range PCR, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (IA/PCR/ESI-MS) assay that allows early diagnosis of Lyme disease. The assay works by detecting the tick-borne pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi directly from whole blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or other clinical specimens. To achieve the necessary sensitivity, the assay selectively enriches the target Borrelia sequences in large sample volumes.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are an estimated 300,000 new Lyme disease cases a year in the United States. If left untreated, this pathogen can lead to chronic long-term infection,” said Dr. Eshoo.

“The optimal time to treat Lyme disease is at the onset of symptoms,” said Dr. Eshoo. “Currently, serological tests have low sensitivity early in the infection due to the biologically delayed immune response, and as a result, the tests cannot distinguish active infections from prior exposures.”

“Abbott has been working to develop a method for the direct detection of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. To detect the bacteria, Abbott has developed methods for using large volumes of blood and an isothermal amplification technique that we used to increase our assay sensitivity,” added Dr. Eshoo.

The isothermal amplification, an effective and simple non-PCR DNA enrichment technique, was added to the existing PCR/ESI-MS assay. The study targeted eight Borrelia loci by using 50 primers per target (400 primers in total) in conjunction with a strand-displacing DNA polymerase to increase the target enrichment efficiency in the sample DNA extracted from 1.25 mL of whole blood.

The IA/PCR/ESI-MS assay takes eight hours and can detect Borrelia burgdorferi prior to an active infection. These capabilities allow doctors to diagnose erythema migrans and acute Lyme disease early in disease progression before seroconversion.

Next-Generation Sequencing

Jude Dunne, Ph.D., vp of product development at WaferGen, described the SmartChip TE system, which uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) to provide a target-enrichment solution for clinical and translational research.

“The system uses a singleplex PCR enrichment strategy, with a single reaction occurring in each of several thousand wells on a SmartChip TE panel in less than three hours,” said Dr. Dunne. “At the end of the enrichment, all the amplicons are extracted into one pool ready for sequencing. In situ addition of the required sample-identifying barcodes and sequencer-specific adapters … further simplifies the workflow and reduces cost.”

Singleplex PCR can allow the user to optimize individual assays on the chip, with the possibility of monitoring each reaction in real time. According to Dr. Dunne, WaferGen’s custom assay designs have a higher probability of working on the first iteration, unlike some multiplex technologies for which several rounds of optimization have become a common practice.

The SmartChip TE system consists of custom SmartChip TE panels, a desktop sin-gle-sample dispenser, and a PCR cycler. The system’s level of sensitivity with routine coverage is >99% of the targeted regions, and its uniformity of coverage is >98% at >10% of the mean.

“We are adding to our primer design pipeline by including designs for smaller am-plicons suitable for FFPE samples, which are critical for cancer-related clinical tests,” said Dr. Dunne. “In addition, a higher throughput SmartChip TE system with a multisample dispenser will be offered in the near future to enable enrichment of multiple samples on one chip. Those will be two main product improvements that will allow us to address the needs of the vast majority of clinical and CLIA-certified labs.”

“We feel that our technology gives our customers an edge in detecting all the genetic variants, obtaining the best uniformity and most complete coverage compared to other technologies, which is of critical importance for clinical tests that will be used by doctors to make patient-care decisions,” said Dr. Dunne.

Microbiome Analysis

According to Fiona Stewart, Ph.D., product development manager at New England Biolabs, customers asked the company to develop a better method for separating target microbial DNA samples from host DNA, the main contaminant. The method needed to be good enough to enable an accurate microbiome analysis.

“What we came up with was an idea to separate those two types of DNA based on methylation pattern. Eukaryotic DNA is generally methylated, and microbial DNA is generally not,” said Dr. Stewart. The separation is achieved by capturing the methylated host DNA on methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2 (MBD2), immobilized on magnetic protein beads.

Erbay Yigit, Ph.D., applications and product development scientist, used the kit to analyze the microbiome of human saliva. “Once we pull down the methylated host DNA, what remains is the supernatant,” said Dr. Yigit. “Most of the host DNA goes in the beads fraction. We are primarily interested in sequencing prokaryotic DNA.” The prokaryotic DNA sequences are verified against the Human Oral Microbiome Database (HOMD).

The host DNA fraction can be released from the beads and analyzed separately. “We are not only enriching the supernatant, which contains the prokaryotic DNA, but we are also enriching the host DNA,” said Dr. Yigit.

The company’s NEBNext Microbiome DNA Enrichment kit has been used to analyze human, fish, plant, and arthropod microbiomes. It also selectively enriches the organellar DNA from mitochondria and plant chloroplasts, which enables a more efficient genome sequencing and mutational analysis. Dr. Stewart said that the company plans to develop the viral enrichment technology in response to demand in the research community.

“The variety of applications seems pretty broad, but what all of these people have in common is the same problem—they want to be able to sequence the microbial DNA in their sample, and previously they had not been able to do that,” said Dr. Stewart. “Being able to separate microbial DNA is bringing real changes.”

Continue reading at GEN Genetic & Biotechnology News…