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In Brief This Week: 10x Genomics, CareDx, Agilent, and More

NEW YORK – A US federal court said this week it will allow 10x Genomics to provide Vanderbilt University’s Vaccine Center with a new Chromium instrument configured to run GEM microfluidic chips to help respond to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak. 10x Genomics has been prohibited from selling so-called legacy instruments under an injunction issued by the US District Court for the District of Delaware, but the firm has been granted a one-time exception. Bio-Rad Laboratories, the plaintiff in the patent infringement suit that led to the injunction, agreed to the arrangement. Vanderbilt’s Vaccine Center requested the instrument to run 10x’s single-cell immune profiling assay on control samples, after it moved its existing Chromium instrument into a contained environment.

CareDx announced this week that a magistrate judge for the US District Court for the District of Delaware has recommended the denial of Natera and Eurofins Viracor’s motions to dismiss CareDx’s patent infringement complaints against them. 

CareDx has alleged that Natera’s and Viracor’s organ transplant products infringe CareDx’s patent rights. Natera and Viracor argued to the court that those patents are invalid because they cover ineligible subject matter. The magistrate judge has recommended to the district court judge that those arguments be rejected and the motions to dismiss be denied.

Agilent Technologies this week granted Twist Bioscience a limited, non-exclusive license to use trade secrets Agilent asserted in a recently settled lawsuit.

According to a Form 10-Q filed by Twist with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the license from Agilent extends to Twist's supply chain, including customers, suppliers, distributors, and resellers. The specific trade secrets licensed were not disclosed. Agilent has also agreed not to sue Twist for infringement of any Agilent patent issued or pending as of the date of the settlement agreement, "solely to the extent such patents claim a trade secret alleged in the litigation."

Agilent had sued Twist, CEO and Cofounder Emily Leproust, and several other individuals in 2016 in Santa Clara (California) Superior Court, alleging theft of trade secrets related to DNA oligonucleotide synthesis. Last week, the firms announced a settlement where Twist would make a one-time payment to Agilent of $22.5 million in exchange for full relief of the claims, with no admission of liability or wrongdoing by Twist.  

Separately, Twist announced this week that it has obtained ISO 27001 certification. The ISO27001:2013 standard provides best practices for information security management systems covering privacy and compliance of software applications as well as intellectual property and other sensitive customer information.

Health data management company Seqster said this week that it has received a strategic investment of undisclosed size from Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan. Seqster, a software-as-a-service firm based in San Diego, plans to use the new funds to accelerate the adoption of its interoperability technology for enhancing clinical trials, patient engagement, and outcomes.

P4 Diagnostix, a network of diagnostic testing labs, announced this week it has acquired the assets of Strand Diagnostics. The buy includes Strand’s Know Error system for forensic DNA testing, and its UroSeq testing panel for advanced prostate cancer. In an email, P4 Diagnostix VP of Business Development Brett Reilly declined to disclose the terms of the deal. He said that the majority of Strand’s employees will be offered employment with P4 Diagnostix, which is based in Beltsville, Maryland. It also has labs in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona. All key operation members of Strand are being retained, Reilly said, and Strand will remain in Indianapolis.

Chembio Diagnostics this week announced a $1.5 million purchase order from UNICEF for its multiplex Zika tests and Micro Readers, following the successful completion of conditions set forth in a previously announced long-term arrangement. The arrangement consists of a total opportunity of up to $3.5 million.

Chembio’s multiplex DPP Zika System allows for simultaneous and discrete detection of antibodies for both active and prior exposure to the Zika virus.

Co-Diagnostics said this week that it has closed a previously announced registered direct offering of 3.3 million shares of its common stock at a purchase price of $3.08 per share in a registered direct offering priced at the market. Gross proceeds were approximately $10.2 million. 

Co-Diagnostics said it anticipates using net proceeds to acquire PCR equipment to be used in connection with sales of infectious disease test reagents. The firm also anticipates using the proceeds in connection with research and development costs associated with test development for additional pathogens and test-menu expansion, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Precision medicine company Olaris announced this week that it has received a grant for an undisclosed amount from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). Olaris will use the funding to identify biomarkers that can detect Parkinson’s disease at its earliest onset.

Oncimmune reported this week that its revenues for the first half of 2019 were £310,000 ($404,000), compared to £120,000 in the first half of 2018. R&D costs were £1.0 million, up from £690,000. The firm’s comprehensive loss for H1 2019 after tax was £5.8 million, compared to £3.9 million in H1 2018Oncimmune’s cash balance at the end of the period was £7.5 million.

Sphere Fluidics said this week that it has invested in its Pico-Surf biocompatible surfactant product. The firm will expand operations to meet demand for large-scale commercial supply of the surfactant. Sphere said that Pico-Surf can be used in a wide range of microfluidic application workflows, including its proprietary single cell analysis platforms.

4basebio said this week that its previously announced share buyback offer was oversubscribed, and the company will now proceed to acquire the maximum amount of shares tendered in the framework of the public offer, up to 5.2 million shares, for a final purchase price of 1.85 per share. The company will announce the exact number of shares that will be acquired once the allocation quota has been determined. The settlement of the offer is expected to take place on Feb. 24.

Centogene announced this week that its biorepository in Rostock, Germany has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The CAP's Biorepository Accreditation Program is designed to improve the quality and consistency of biorepositories through requirements for standardization that will result in high-quality human specimens and genetic materials that can be used to support research.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on GenomeWeb.