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In Brief This Week: ArcherDx, Sherlock Biosciences, Caris Life Sciences, and More

NEW YORK – ArcherDx announced this week that its next generation sequencing device to detect neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions that lead to cancer received breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration. The device is under development as a companion diagnostic and uses Anchored Multiplex PCR chemistry to capture DNA, RNA, or ctDNA from blood and tissue samples.

The firm said it is pursuing regulatory clearance so the device can help with the underutilization of targeted therapies. The technology is designed for settings with a lack of genomic analysis infrastructure or expertise that can affect a physician'ability to select the best therapy for a patient, the company said.

Sherlock Biosciences said this week that the Open Philanthropy Project is advancing the firm $7.5 million in grant funding to launch the Sherlock Innovation Lab and accelerate the development of its at-home COVID-19 diagnostic utilizing its INSPECTR platform. Open Philanthropy awarded Sherlock Bio a $17.5 million non-dilutive grant to develop its SHERLOCK CRISPR platform when the company launched in 2019, and this $7.5 million has been released to the company earlier than expected to allow it to focus on developing its INSPECTR-based COVID-19 diagnostic, a company spokeswoman told GenomeWeb.

With the launch of the Sherlock Innovation Lab, the company is currently hiring industry and academic experts in synthetic biology to focus exclusively on scaling INSPECTR for at-home and low-resource environments.

Caris Life Sciences said this week that Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has become the 37th member of the Caris Precision Oncology Alliance, a collaborative network of cancer centers committed to precision medicine. The centers work together to advance comprehensive cancer profiling and establish standards of care for molecular testing in oncology, Caris noted. Rutgers Cancer Institute currently has 56 active clinical trials with a focus on precision medicine.

Macrogen said this week that it has obtained export approval for its Axen COVID-19 RT test kit from South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Macrogen's test uses RT-PCR to detect SARS-CoV-2's ORF1ab and E genes to determine whether a person is infected with the virus in about two hours. The company is applying for Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration and is seeking CE IVD marking.

Insightful Science said this week that it has acquired Cytapex, a bioinformatics CRO that partners with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies to improve and automate high-throughput and high-dimensional cytometry informatics for basic and clinical research, biomarker discovery, and clinical trials. San Diego-based Insightful will add Cytapex to its bioinformatics division, which already includes DNA data analysis products. Insightful also has a data analysis and visualization division.

Horizon Discovery said this week that contract development and manufacturing organization Rentschler Biopharma has licensed Horizon’s CHOSOURCE platform, to be used in combination with Rentschler’s in-house process for cell line development for difficult-to-express proteins. The two companies said they’re aiming to provide biotherapeutic manufacturing support for firms of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical companies to clinical stage biotechs and early stage startups.

Toronto-based diagnostics firm StageZero Life Sciences said this week that it has partnered with Boston-based laboratory testing software provider UDoTest to provide PCR-based and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2. StageZero will connect primary care physicians to labs that provide COVID-19 testing through UDoTest’s online platformUDoTest matches telehealth physicians and employers with labs that have SARS-CoV-2 tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as antibody tests for the coronavirus.

Toronto-based Datametrix AI said this week it has inked a strategic partnership and development deal with Transpharm Canada focused on Datametrix's COVID-19 testing kits. Datametrix will have access to Transpharm's 25,000-square-foot testing facility as part of the deal and will provide the kits while Transpharm will provide all other services, such as specimen collection and transport, and test processing. Transpharm will also develop a point-of-care diagnostic kit system. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.22 per common share, payable on July 15 to shareholders of record as of June 15.

Agilent Technologies this week declared a quarterly dividend of $.18 per share, to be paid on July 22 to all shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 30.

Luminex this week announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.09 per share, payable on July 9 to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 18.

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.