NanoImaging Services has opened what it claims is a first of its kind fee-for-service imaging business to enable structural characterisation and validation of biological drugs throughout the development pipeline.  New Service Offers High-Resolution 3D TEM Imaging of Large Biological Molecules

NanoImaging Services, Inc. has opened a new business operation to provide high-resolution, three-dimensional transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging services to manufacturers of large molecule biopharmaceuticals. The service provides fast, accurate structural characterization and validation of new drug compounds, targets and assays; promising improved speed and reduced risk at all phases of the drug development process, from discovery and characterization through approval and manufacturing.

NanoImaging Services, Inc. provides transmission electron microscope imaging services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and nanotechnology industries, and specializes in the characterization of large biological molecules used in biopharmaceuticals such as vaccines, antibodies, cytokines, hormones and gene therapies. In contrast to conventional (small molecule) drugs, biopharmaceuticals are typically protein-based and manufactured in controlled, modified, biological systems.

NanoImaging Services was founded by researchers from The Scripps Research Institute with financial support from FEI Company a leading manufacturer of TEMs and other tools for nanotechnology. The start-up has also benefited significantly from early contracts with Merck & Co., one of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, including a project to characterize virus-like particles of human papilloma virus in support of the development of Merck's recently-introduced Gardasil® vaccine.

NanoImaging offers a variety of services, from visual inspection and statistical characterization to sophisticated 3D reconstruction and antibody/labeling experiments, using TEM procedures that range from conventional negative staining to advanced cryo techniques with automated image acquisition and analysis. In the most advanced applications, samples in physiologic solution are instantly frozen in vitreous ice to preserve delicate biological structures in their native hydrated state. Thousands of images, automatically acquired with low dose techniques, are sorted and averaged together to create high-contrast, high-resolution (approaching 1nm), low-noise images, and statistically valid sampling devoid of operator bias. A secure web-based interface allows clients to view images and direct experiments remotely, in real time. Results, along with all meta data, are stored in a relational database, preserving the provenance of all images for documentary purposes and providing a basis for long-term studies.