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2022 Wrapped – OracleBio’s Year in Review
21 December 2022
By Mark Laurie

Article Synopsis: In this article, OracleBio’s Marketing Manager, Mark Laurie, wraps up some of this year’s highlights and gives you a peek at what’s to come in 2023!

As 2022 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the year and appreciate how much we’ve achieved as a team.

The past 12 months have certainly been eventful. Not only has OracleBio grown in size with the addition of 4 new team members, but with the world re-opening again we were delighted to get back to in-person industry events, trips across the Atlantic to meet clients, launching new services, and getting set up in our new office space and a whole lot more that we’ll cover below.

Our People & Culture

Our people and culture are at the core of everything we do, and with the continuous evolution of OracleBio, we needed to ensure that going forward and to meet demands, we not only hire the best upcoming talent but ensure we nurture our existing talent by providing all the tools, training and skills development they need to excel.

With this in mind, we were excited to bring on our new HR Business Partner; Alida Buchan. Alida and our senior management team have been working hard to bring these goals to life.

Some of the things now in place are:

  • New roles and promotions: 3 of our most experienced senior scientists were promoted to new roles; Nicole Couper moves into our Deputy Clinical Operations Manager role, Marianne Cowan moves into our Quantitative Digital Pathology Environments (QDPE) Project Manager role, and Karen McClymont moves into our Image Analysis Project Manager role
  • From the GCP group, Leonie Sherry was promoted into a more senior role as our new Senior Quality Assurance Manager
  • Implementation of new, improved personal development plans, training needs analysis, and management development programmes
  • Investment in a new, internal e-learning solution for training & development, as well as employee benefits and perks platform
  • Roll out of company-wide soft skills courses, mental health awareness, and equality & diversity sessions, and more
  • Launch of our new Apprenticeship Programme and Assistant Image Analysis Scientist role

Back to the (new) office

During the pandemic, we outgrew our existing office space and decided to take our office space up a notch.

We transitioned from 1 small office to 3 larger spaces which include our own dedicated conference space and meeting room to maximise productivity and collaboration.

As well as getting back to the office, we were also able to restart our social nights; allowing everyone to connect outside of work and for newer members of the team to get to know everyone, and vice versa.

Back to In-Person Events

Emerging from the travel restrictions (only in April of this year) and being able to once again engage in face-to-face meetings, both at dedicated Client meetings and at conferences, it was quite clear how far the field of Quantitative Digital Pathology had advanced since before the pandemic.

We were pleased to see that our presence and impact in this field are stronger than ever due to the fantastic work our team has put in; the continual sharing of our research, educating our audience, and building our online community has been impactful.

This year, we were back out in force to several conferences, from the Digital Pathology & AI Congress in New York and London, SITC in Boston, and Transforming Digital Pathology & AI in Edinburgh. It was great to see the wider OracleBio team strengthening existing and building new relationships.

As well as conferences, we made several trips to both the East and West Coast USA to showcase our services to new Pharma and Biotech clients, as well as connect with existing clients that we had been unable to meet in person in a couple of years.

Figures showing inter-run staining variability of IHC stained slides on different staining runs.

Last but certainly not least, we were thrilled to re-launch our STEM activities and STEM ambassadorship.

It was important for us to re-engage with local students in a variety of interactive events and introduce them to Digital Pathology and Life Sciences; showing them the many possible routes to a successful career in science.

We answered their burning questions and helped break down some common myths about the reality of being a scientist in 2022.

Figures showing inter-run staining variability of IHC stained slides on different staining runs.

Research, Thought Leadership & Partnerships

Earlier in the year, we were delighted to receive news that a paper containing our work was published on Karger.  

The paper, ‘ICOS-Positive Regulatory T Cells in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: The Perspective from Digital Pathology Analysis‘, was created alongside the National Taiwan University Hospital and Kymab Ltd (now part of Sanofi). 

The study demonstrates the impact that Quantitative and Spatial Digital Pathology can have on understanding the expression of a novel therapeutic target in the context of Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) biology and patient outcomes. 

We’ve broken down the key points from the paper (including the Karger link) on our website here.

Monthly Articles & Insights 

Our scientists and the wider team have been working hard to ensure we have regularly released content on a range of research and studies we’ve been working on throughout the year.

This content has been popular with our growing online community and clients, so you’ll be happy to hear it’ll be continuing in 2023, so be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date.

Here are our 5 most-read articles of 2022:

  1. Using Deep Learning to address Staining Variance across Multiplex IF image sets’ by Lorcan Sherry, Chief Scientific Officer at OracleBio
  2. Tertiary Lymphoid Structures and their role within the Immune System’ by Dr Gabriele Kohnen, Clinical Pathologist at OracleBio
  3. Where does Cancer come from? – Cancer precursors and their terminology’ by Dr James Going, Clinical Pathologist at OracleBio
  4. Using AI to assess Tertiary Lymphoid Structures in H&E and mIF stained Liver tissue’ by Karen McClymont, Image Analysis Project Manager at OracleBio
  5. Improving multiplex IF image analysis workflows: Does the perfect solution to autofluorescence exist?’ by Cristina Suanno, Image Analysis Scientist at OracleBio

Check out our full library of articles and insights here.

Case Studies 

Want to find out more about some of the studies we’ve worked on? We’ve got you covered.

We recently launched a Case Studies section on our website; currently listing a small selection of projects but with many more in the works for release next year (including video versions). View them here.

Partnerships & Collaborations

  • Earlier this year we signed a co-marketing agreement signed with Akoya Biosciences which will allow us to collaborate on more exciting research and content in 2023
  • We were also announced as Ultivue’s GCP-compliant workflow partner for their new AI Partner Ecosystem programme, which is set to accelerate the analysis of multiplex IF image data in translational medicine. Read the press release.
  • We put our heads together with our partner, TherapeutAix, to write about the role of the Preclinical Bleomycin model in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Drug Development. This is a fascinating area of research and the article is well worth a read: https://oraclebio.com/the-use-and-value-of-the-preclinical-bleomycin-model-in-drug-development-for-idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis-ipf/

Research & Development

Did you know we launched our own dedicated R&D group?

The group has made major strides since its inception — in fact, our R&D Project Manager, Gabriel Reines March wrote this fantastic article unveiling; why we decided to invest in and launch the group, their scientific scope, their key learnings after year one, and their plans for the future.

Gabriel’s article is a must-read — check it out here.

Further to the article, some of the R&D group’s 2022 highlights are:

  • Development of an image Quality Control (QC) pipeline in Python, to automatically check for tissue and scanning artefacts on incoming image files
  • Introduction of our new ‘PhenoXplore’ spatial analysis app capabilities, including more complex spatial queries to analyse local/global cell heterogeneity and neighbourhood distribution
  • Kickstarted the process of establishing a software lifecycle management framework to better manage our ever-growing portfolio of software projects

The progress the group has made in a short period of time is nothing short of impressive, and their future plans to ensure OracleBio stays at the cutting edge in its field are extremely exciting. We’ll be sure to share their progress and milestones with you next year too.

Quality & Compliance (GCP – Good Clinical Practice)

Our Quality & Compliance group are truly the unsung heroes within OracleBio, so let’s take a closer look at the key role(s) they play in the company.

Our GCP team is built on extensive experience — over 50 years of regulatory experience combined, in fact. Working to GxP standards and previously having implemented GxP Image Analysis systems, they’ve supported numerous projects in a regulatory environment.

The group works relentlessly to ensure we’re working to all relevant quality, ethical and legal standards applicable to clinical trials. For example, throughout the image analysis workflow, each stage of sample management, data generation, and handling involves periodic process checks to ensure data integrity. 

Most of their work, understandably, cannot be shared publicly, but here are some of the highlights from this year that we can share:

  • Successful maintenance of our services to continue support for image analysis; using Visiopharm software to a GCP-compliant standard
  • Working to create a GCP-compliant environment in the AWS cloud to support GCP studies using Halo & Halo AI software for use in 2023
  • Promotion of Leonie Sherry to Senior Quality Assurance Manager within the group
  • The group welcomed one of our most senior and experienced analysts, Nicole Couper, into the role of Deputy Clinical Operations Manager

What’s Next? Moving into 2023

With all of the fantastic work our team is doing, the demand for our services continues to grow, meaning our strategy and service offerings must also evolve to meet our clients’ demands.

This year, we made our digital pathology cloud-based IT infrastructure available as a service to our clients. This means they get to benefit from the cutting-edge technology stack that we’ve built from the ground up over the past decade.

This IT infrastructure has allowed OracleBio to fulfill the computing demands of advanced AI (Deep learning), giving our image analysts point control over the server size and type needed to train and run image analysis algorithms at speed and scale.

A key part of our solution allows seamless remote working and the use of HALO link and our own Visiopharm equivalent (OBserver), it reinforces the importance of Client engagement in the image analysis workflow.

In addition, and to meet the growing demand for multiplex staining analysis, we have applied innovative approaches to algorithm development, notably the concept of AI-driven ‘adaptive thresholding’ to deliver accurate phenotyping of cells against varying levels of background signal.

As we move into 2023, expect to see more thought leadership content from our experts as we continue to share our learnings, research, and our journey as a whole. You’ve been enjoying seeing more about behind the scenes at OracleBio, so expect to learn more about our scientists and wider team.

You’ll see more new team members and announcements around new products, services, and solutions that we can’t wait to share with you.  

If you’d like to find out more about these services, don’t hesitate to contact our experts to arrange a chat in the new year. 

In the meantime, we wish you happy holidays and look forward to connecting with you again in the year ahead; digitally and in person!

James Going

About the author: 

Mark Laurie – Marketing Manager

“With over a decade in senior marketing and sales roles within the IT, technology, and entertainment sectors, Mark brings a fresh perspective and unique skill set to lead OracleBio’s global marketing and communications efforts; helping share our story and build our community.”

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