New England Biolabs (NEB) on Monday disclosed a pair of new collaborations focused on applications of new technologies. The value of both collaborations was not disclosed.

Beckman Coulter said it will develop, distribute, and support automation for NEB’s NEBNext® sample preparation reagent kits, with the goal of improving processes and throughput in next-generation sequencing (NGS) sample preparation. NEB will provide the partnership with technical expertise on reagents, chemistry, and protocols.

“With fast, streamlined workflows requiring fewer components and fewer steps, the NEBNext kits are ideally suited for automation,” Fiona Stewart, NEB’s product marketing manager for NGS, said in a statement.

Optimized methods for the NEBNext kits are built on Beckman Coulter’s Biomek liquid handling platforms, with each solution including a unique group of Biomek methods to address a specific NEBNext kit protocol. Methods are also included that automate Beckman Coulter’s AMPure XP kit for DNA purification, the SPRIselect kit for high throughput DNA size selection, and the qPCR setup and normalization processes, all with the goal of improving overall workflows.

The first collection of automated NEBNext methods were developed on the NGS configurations of the Biomek 4000 and the Biomek FXP Dual Arm Multi 96 and Span 8 platforms in collaboration with scientists from several institutions, including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and the Genomics and Molecular Biology Shared Resource (GMBSR) at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

“By automating the NEBNext Library Preparation method on the Biomek 4000, we were able to generate more reproducible libraries compared to those prepared manually, our labor costs were reduced, and we were able to offer a faster turnaround time to customers performing NGS projects through our core facility,” said Joanna Hamilton, Ph.D., co-director of the Genomics and Molecular Biology Shares Resource, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

The methods create up to 96 sequence-ready libraries that generate quality results on Illumina® and Ion Torrent™ sequencing platform.

Methods available today, according to Beckman Coulter, are NEBNext Ultra™ Directional RNA, NEBNext Ultra DNA (including for ChIP-Seq) for Illumina NGS, and NEBNext Fast DNA Fragmentation & Library Prep for Ion Torrent. Other methods, including for NEBNext ribosomal RNA depletion and the NEBNext Small RNA reagent kits, are expected to follow later in the year.

Separately, NEB and Directed Genomics say they have established a partnership to develop a suite of new technologies for NGS, including target enrichment.

The first joint product concept to be developed through the partnership is a target enrichment technology designed to combine enrichment with NGS library construction into a single, seamless protocol.

NEB and Directed Genomics said their approach is scalable, and is designed to enable the conversion of small amounts of genomic DNA into sequence-ready libraries, in about six hours. Enrichment is also highly specific, enabling greater coverage of target regions with fewer sequencing reads than other currently available target-capture methods.

“Partnering with NEB allows us to leverage an extensive knowledge-base of enzyme activities, best-in-class manufacturing practices and their global commercial footprint,” Cynthia Richard, founder and president of Directed Genomics, said in a statement.

The target enrichment technology is being presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual conference, which will conclude Wednesday in San Diego.

“Though still in development, the technical data produced to date is impressive. We look forward to further developing this method and applying it in a variety of research and translational workflows,” added Theodore Davis, NEB’s director of applications and product development.

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