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In Brief This Week: Agilent, Luminex, Castle Biosciences, and More

NEW YORK – Agilent Technologies announced this week that it has reached an agreement with China-based companies EChrom and Pannatek, as well as certain former Agilent employees, regarding an intellectual property dispute related to Agilent's model 6890 Gas Chromatograph technology.

As part of the settlement agreement, EChrom and Pannatek admit that they obtained technical drawings and/or technical documents carrying Agilent trade secrets from former Agilent employees by violating the company's confidentiality requirements and without Agilent's permission. The two companies then used technologies that were identical to, or substantially similar to, Agilent's technical drawings and technical documents in the development and manufacture of their gas chromatograph products.

The settlement also requires that the companies pay damages to Agilent, destroy all technical drawings and technical documents carrying any Agilent trade secrets, and immediately cease the production and sale of products using any Agilent trade secrets. Specific financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.


Luminex said this week that the price of acquiring EMD Millipore's flow cytometry portfolio has decreased by $1.9 million.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, the firm reported that a purchase price reconciliation was completed during the first quarter of this year, leading to a revised amount of $68 million paid under the purchase agreement.

In 2018, Austin, Texas-based Luminex agreed to acquire the flow cytometry portfolio for $75 million, consisting of about $69.9 million to be paid under a stock and asset purchase agreement and about $5.1 million in committed inventory purchases, with both being subject to adjustment.

Luminex said that it anticipates completing inventory purchases in the third quarter. The firm financed the acquisition with cash on hand. At the time of the acquisition, Luminex said it anticipated the deal could contribute between $40 million and $50 million to its revenues in 2019. The firm's flow cytometry business contributed about $13.2 million, or 16 percent, to revenues in the second quarter.


Castle Biosciences this week closed its initial public offering of 4.6 million shares of its common stock, including 600,000 shares sold to the offering's underwriters when they exercised their option to purchase additional shares, at $16 per share. Gross proceeds from the IPO were $73.6 million. Castle Bio went public last week on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CSTL.


Thermo Fisher Scientific disclosed in a regulatory filing this week that it acquired Slovakia-based mass spectrometry software provider HighChem for an aggregate purchase price of $14 million. The acquisition was first announced in June.


Siemens Healthineers said this week that it has acquired Dutch point-of-care diagnostics firm Minicare for an undisclosed amount. Based in the Netherlands, Minicare develops handheld technology for immunoassay testing at the point of care. It has 15 employees. The deal closed in early July.

Strata Oncology said this week that it has added five more health systems to its Strata Precision Oncology Network: Baptist Health in Kentucky, Lehigh Valley Health Network of Pennsylvania, the Marshfield Clinic of Wisconsin, MultiCare Health System in Washington, and Prisma Health of South Carolina. The network uses Strata's precision oncology platform to implement a comprehensive program featuring universal tumor molecular profiling, efficient utilization of molecular data, and a portfolio of precision therapy trials, the company said.


UK-based bioinformatics firm Eagle Genomics said this week it has opened its first US location at JLABS in New York City, a biotech incubator jointly run by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, New York state, and the New York Genome Center. Eagle Genomics' flagship platform, e[AutomatedDataScientist], uses artificial intelligence to analyze complex genomic and microbiomic data at scale, enabling companies in the consumer goods, agritech, and healthcare industries to assess the viability, efficacy, and safety of products, according to the company.


Sema4 said this week that it has begun construction of a new 70,000-square-foot laboratory facility in Stamford, Connecticut — its second in that state.

The genomic testing firm's new lab is designed to process more than 5,000 patient samples a day and will house more than 300 employees, including 100 genetic counselors, bioinformatics specialists, and support staff.


BioReference Laboratories this week announced it has been selected as a preferred provider of laboratory services by the IPA Association of America, a trade association serving independent and integrated physician associations. The trade association also selected BioReference to assist with data analytics for its members' patients.

The agreement is designed to offer collaborative health management tools to the trade association's members, including more than 667 medical organizations representing more than 303,000 medical doctors in 39 states, BioReference said. The trade association's members will now have access to the laboratory testing menu, including frequently requested routine and specialty tests and the 4Kscore, a blood test for detecting aggressive prostate cancer.


LexaGene this week said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration's Antibiotic Resistance Isolate Bank has recognized it as a facility approved to receive samples for testing antibiotic resistance. The CDC and FDA AR Bank will provide information to LexaGene that will support the development of its LX Analyzer platform and address antibiotic resistance. According to LexaGene, it now has access to a repository of fully characterized pathogens that it will use to improve the LX Analyzer's detection capabilities.


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.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.