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In Brief This Week: ArcherDx, NanoString Technologies, the Cleveland Clinic, and More

NEW YORK – ArcherDx announced this week that it is extending its partnership with UCL and the Francis Crick Institute to use liquid biopsy-based research assays for the Cancer Research UK-funded TRACERx program. ArcherDx and UCL will continue measuring circulating tumor DNA taken from peripheral blood draws at specific intervals to detect evidence of disease progression in lung cancer patients. The partnership uses ArcherDx's Anchored Multiplex PCR technology to detect low levels of cancer-derived DNA, the firm said.

NanoString Technologies and Bio-Techne said this week that they have expanded their partnership on a workflow combining Bio-Techne's RNAscope probes and NanoString's GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler. The firms will make 10 qualified two- or three-plex probe combinations and more than 21,000 ACD probes compatible with NanoString's GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler and GeoMx Cancer Transcriptome Atlas panel with next-generation sequencing readout. Certain combinations cover key applications in immuno-oncology, including detection of chemokines, cytokines, immune checkpoints, and key immune cell types that are difficult to detect with traditional antibodies.

The Cleveland Clinic said this week it has joined Grail's PATHFINDER study, a prospective, multi-center effort that is evaluating the implementation of the company’s investigational multi-cancer early detection blood test in clinical practice. 

The company's assay, recently named Galleri, uses methylation patterns to distinguish the presence of cancer-associated DNA molecules circulating in the blood. It can also predict the area of the body in which these signals originated. In PATHFINDER, testing is being conducted under an investigational device exemption approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Cleveland Clinic is joining other partners that include Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Intermountain Healthcare, Mayo Clinic, Oregon Health & Science University, and Sutter Health.

Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the US and Canada, said this week that it has completed the acquisition of IdentiGen — a provider of DNA-based animal traceability solutions for livestock and aquaculture — from MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland. IdentiGen's technology combines unique DNA from each species with data analytics to provide a solution called DNA TraceBack that can be used to trace beef, seafood, pork, and poultry. Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Centogene said this week that it is expanding an ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan to include SARS-CoV-2 testing. Under the not-for-profit project, the country's National Reference Laboratory in Dushanbe has received reagents, laboratory devices, swabs, and transport systems for qPCR testing. Centogene will train Tajik experts to conduct SARS-CoV-2 testing using its standard operating procedures and training tools. The original collaboration, signed in July 2019, covered rare diseases and included training of doctors, pro bono diagnostic testing, and access to patient networks. It is jointly funded by Centogene and the German government.

UgenTec this week announced the extension of a collaboration with the Belgian government involving PCR data analysis automation for high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 laboratories. Sites at the University of Liege and Biogazelle have automated the data analysis of PCR results using UgenTec's FastFinder Analysis solution. During Belgium's COVID-19 peak, the firm recorded up to 20,000 samples being processed with FastFinder in a single day, according to the company.

The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) said this week it is partnering with Crown Agents as part of Accelerating Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ASCEND), a UK government initiative to drive progress towards global targets for the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases. FIND will collaborate with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to strengthen testing for visceral leishmaniasis and address current VL outbreaks in the country by increasing access to rapid tests. The disease, which is caused by protozoan parasites and transmitted through the bites of sand flies, affects 1,200 people each year in Kenya. It is almost always fatal if not diagnosed and treated.

Australian regulators have authorized Co-Diagnostics' Logix Smart COVID-19 test for use in the country to detect SARS-CoV-2, the company announced this week. The Australian Government Register of Therapeutic Goods Certificate was issued to Co-Diagnostics' distributor in Australia, allowing it to supply the Class 3 IVD in Australia.

T2 Biosystems said this week that it has chosen not to seek authority from its stockholders at its annual meeting to effect a reverse split of its issued and outstanding shares of common stockThe firm has thus withdrawn Proposal No. 1 in the definitive proxy statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on June 26 for such authority from the agenda for its annual meeting.

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.