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In Brief This Week: Bio-Rad Laboratories, Seer, Ellume, and More

NEW YORK – Bio-Rad Laboratories said this week that it anticipates fiscal year 2023 sales to be in the range of $2.75 billion to $2.85 billion. The Hercules, California-based company said business will be driven by its broad portfolio of products including droplet digital PCR, single-cell, and clinical diagnostics, and a focus on the bioproduction and biopharma channels.


Proteomics firm Seer this week completed its initial public offering, raising a total of $201.3 million in proceeds. The firm sold a total of 10,592,106 shares of Class A common stock, including the exercised over-allotment option. Redwood City, California-based Seer makes the ProteoGraph system, which uses nanoparticle-based enrichment of proteins in samples like human plasma to enable deeper coverage in proteomic discovery experiments. The firm now trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SEER, and had a market cap of around $3.92 billion as of the close of the market on Thursday.


Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume said this week it has received strategic investment from the Queensland State Government under the $50 million Essential Goods and Supply Chain Program. The funding will allow the company to expand its manufacturing facility in Brisbane, adding multiple production lines to improve production capacity of its rapid diagnostic tests for infectious diseasesEllume said it is on track to ship 100,000 tests per day starting next month and 250,000 tests per day by March 2021, and it plans to manufacture 20 million SARS-CoV-2 tests in the first half of 2021. The firm is developing three SARS-CoV-2 tests, including an antigen test with Qiagen and two rapid antigen tests independently. It also previously developed a SARS-CoV-2 serology test with Qiagen that was launched in August.


The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) this week said GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is joining the National Human Genome Research Institute, Biogen, and Roche in supporting ASHG's Human Genetics Scholars Initiative, a program that aims to foster professional success for diverse, early-career genetics and genomics researchers. Through this organizational support, each Human Genetics Scholar will receive two years of attendance and travel stipends for the ASHG Annual Meeting, as well as year-round professional development, mentoring, community-building, and other tailored professional development support of their choosing.


Telehealth firm IxLayer said this week that it has been selected by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and Stanford University to provide its clinical testing platform for the Community Alliance to Test Coronavirus at Home (CATCH) study. CATCH is a large-scale research collaboration led by Stanford Medicine to test and track the coronavirus in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. It will use IxLayer's platform to run tests simultaneously with labs in California, track shipments, and manage test inventory, while providing data for scientists and public health officials to understand the area's outbreak and inform public health decisions. Through IxLayer, CATCH can reach more than 8.5 million residents in the San Francisco Bay Area with self-collection and the return of nasal swab samples, the firm said. IxLayer's platform is able to plug into a health system and lab within 48 hours, allowing physicians to prescreen patients, order tests, coordinate sample collection, and triage patients.


Oxford Immunotec said this week that South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved the company's T-Cell Select reagent kit. The kit is an immune cell separation reagent used to automate the preparation of cells required to run Oxford Immunotec's T-Spot.TB test for diagnosing tuberculosis infection from patients' blood samples. It streamlines and simplifies the T-Spot.TB test laboratory protocol. Automation makes implementation of the assay easier, while reducing hands-on time and labor costs. The kit also allows for higher throughput and easier integration of the assay into the lab workflow, Oxford Immunotec said. The reagent kit is CE marked and available throughout Europe.


Blue Shield said this week it has signed an agreement to reimburse all of DermTech's products. The deal becomes effective on Feb 1, 2021. The insurer has about 3.7 million covered lives through its commercial PPO/EPO, Medicare Advantage PPO, commercial HMO, and Medicare Advantage HMO plans. DermTech offers the Pigmented Lesion Assay, a noninvasive gene expression test for the early detection of melanoma. The test has a 99 percent negative predictive value, the company said.


Twist Bioscience this week closed an underwritten public offering of approximately 3.2 million shares of common stock at $110 per share. Twist sold approximately 3.1 million shares, while certain selling stockholders sold 75,000 shares. In addition, the underwriters fully exercised their option to purchase 409,090 shares at the offering price.

Twist estimates net proceeds from the offering to be approximately $323.7 million, after deducting the underwriting discount, commissions, and offering expenses. Twist will not receive any proceeds from the sale of common stock by the selling stockholders.


Biocartis said this week that it has signed an agreement with a holder of its outstanding €150 million 4 percent senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 regarding the exercise of conversion rights in relation to €15 million aggregate principal amount of bonds. As part of the conversion, the firm will make a cash payment equal to €28,700 ($34,758) per €100,000 in principle amount, in addition to any accrued but unpaid interest.  The firm will convert an aggregate principal amount of €15 million and issue 1,163,575 new ordinary shares.

Biocartis will use the agreement to reduce the reported debt and strengthen its shareholders equity at a premium to the current share price. The debt reduction amounts to €9.3 million, or €.08 per share, with a total reduction of €13.6 million.


Progenity this week announced it has closed its private offering of $85.5 million aggregate principal amount of 7.25 percent convertible senior notes due 2025. The notes issued include $10.5 million principal amount of notes issued from an option to purchase additional notes. Entities affiliated with Athyrium Capital Management acquired $103.5 million in notes, with $25 million to be purchased in cash and $78.5 million issued in exchange for the discharge of outstanding amounts in Progenity’s credit and security agreement with Athyrium.

The San Diego, California-based firm also announced the closing of its public offering of 7,645,259 shares of common stock at a price of $3.27 per share. Both offerings generated combined proceeds of $110.5 million, which Progenity said it will use to support operations, invest in molecular testing and precision medicine R&D, and for working capital and general corporate purposes.


Luminex this week announced a $.01 increase in its quarterly dividend to $.10 per common share, payable on Jan. 14, 2021 to stockholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 23.


Danaher said this week its board has approved a quarterly dividend of $.18 per share of its common stock, payable on Jan. 29, 2021 to shareholders of record on Dec. 28. The board also approved a quarterly cash dividend of $11.88 per share of its 4.75 percent Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, as well as a quarterly cash dividend of $12.50 per share of its 5 percent Series B Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, both of which are payable on Jan. 15, 2021 to holders of record on Dec. 31.


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

Back as Director

A court has reinstated Nicole Boivin as director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Science reports.

Research, But Implementation?

Francis Collins reflects on his years as the director of the US National Institutes of Health with NPR.

For the False Negatives

The Guardian writes that the UK Health Security Agency is considering legal action against the lab that reported thousands of false negative COVID-19 test results.

Genome Biology Papers Present Epigenetics Benchmarking Resource, Genomic Architecture Maps of Peanuts, More

In Genome Biology this week: DNA methylation data for seven reference cell lines, three-dimensional genome architecture maps of peanut lines, and more.