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In Brief This Week: Caribou Biosciences, Genetron Health, Applied DNA Sciences, and More

NEW YORK – AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences announced this week that they have entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the research and development of CAR-T cell therapeutics. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, AbbVie will use Caribou's Cas12a CRISPR hybrid RNA-DNA (chRDNA) genome editing and cell therapy technologies to research and develop two new CAR-T cell therapies directed to targets specified by AbbVie, and AbbVie will have exclusive rights to Caribou's chRDNA genome editing and cell therapy technologies for these targets. Caribou will conduct certain pre-clinical research, development, and manufacturing activities for the collaboration programs, and AbbVie will reimburse Caribou for all such activities pursuant to the collaboration.

AbbVie is also responsible for all clinical development, commercialization, and manufacturing efforts, and has the option to pay a fee to expand the collaboration to include up to an additional two CAR-T cell therapies. Caribou will receive $40 million in an upfront cash payment and equity investment, along with up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones. Caribou may also receive additional payments for commercial milestones as well as global tiered royalties, the companies said.


Genetron Health said this week that its early liver cancer screening research results were mentioned in new guidelines issued by the Chinese Anti-Cancer Association for liver cancer prevention and treatment. The new recommendations specifically cite a study published by Genetron Health and China’s National Cancer Center in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stating that methylation-based circulating tumor DNA tests like Genetron’s can help improve screening when added to traditional protein biomarkers.


Applied DNA Sciences this week reported that its first quarter revenues increased 155 percent to $1.6 million from $634,000 year over year, primarily due to an increase in service revenues of approximately $670,000 and an increase of $312,000 in product revenues. The increase in service revenues was primarily derived from sales of the company’s COVID-19 surveillance tests and the firm attributed the increase in product revenues to an increase in sales of its Linea COVID-19 assay kit.

Applied DNA Sciences' net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2020 was $4.8 million, or $.88 per share, compared with a net loss of $2.7 million, or $1.12 per share, for the previous year's quarter.


Yourgene Health this week lowered its revenue guidance for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. The company now expects revenues of £18 million ($24.7 million) to £20 million for the year, which is less than it previously expected. However, Yourgene still anticipates revenues to increase 10 percent to 20 percent year over year, driven by testing for cystic fibrosis, prenatal aneuploidy, and DPD deficiency in Europe.

Revenues in the second half of the current fiscal year were dampened by pandemic-related shortfalls in noninvasive prenatal testing outside of Europe. In addition, Yourgene saw lower-than-expected revenues from COVID-19 testing through the UK's Fit to Fly and Test to Release programs, as well as workplace and hospitality testing, delayed reproductive health contracts with US partners, and a suspended oncology research program by a client in Taipei.

For the coming fiscal year, ending March 31, 2022, Yourgene said it expects revenues of more than £25 million, but revenues could exceed this estimate, depending on when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.


Lucira Health said this week it has closed its upsized initial public offering of 10,305,000 shares of common stock at a public offering price of $17. The share total includes 1,350,000 shares sold pursuant to the full exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares. The proceeds from the offering before deducting underwriting discounts, commissions, and estimated offering expenses were $175.95 million. BofA Securities and William Blair acted as lead bookrunning managers and LifeSci Capital was co-manager for the offering.


CareDx said this week that the underwriters of its previously announced public offering of common stock have exercised in full their option to purchase an additional 288,461 shares at the public offering price of $91 per share. CareDx will receive additional net proceeds of approximately $24.7 million. The option was granted in connection with the public offering of 1,923,077 shares of common stock, which closed on Jan. 25. After the underwriters exercised their full option, the company sold a total od 2,211,538 shares for approximately $188.7 million in net proceeds.

Goldman Sachs and Jefferies acted as joint book-running managers for the offering, and Raymond JamesBTIG, Craig-Hallum Capital Groupand HC Wainwright acted as co-managers.


Veracyte said this week has closed its previously announced public offering of 8,547,297 shares of common stock, including 1,114,864 shares sold upon full exercise of the underwriters' option to purchase additional shares, at a price of $74 per share. The firm raised about $593.8 million after deducting underwriting discounts, commissions, and estimated offering expenses.


Quanterix said this week it has closed its public offering of 4,107,142 shares of common stock at $70 per share, raising gross proceeds of $287.5 million. The total share count offered includes 535,714 shares sold pursuant to the full exercise of the offering's underwriters' option to purchase additional shares. Goldman Sachs, SVB Leerink, and Cowen were the joint book-running managers for the offering, and Canaccord Genuity was the lead manager.


Oncocyte said this week that it has closed a previously announced public offering of 8,947,000 shares of its common stock, including 1,167,000 shares sold upon the exercise in full of a 15 percent over-allotment option by the underwriters. The shares sold at the public offering price of $4.50 and gross proceeds totaled approximately $40.3 million. Piper Sandler acted as sole book-runner for the offering. BTIG and Needham acted as co-lead managers.

The company said it will use the funds to support commercialization of its lead diagnostic test DetermaRx, to complete development of its immunotherapy predictor DetermaIO, and for development of future tests in its pipeline, including the CNI Monitor assay that it expects to acquire through planned merger with Chronix Biomedical.


VolitionRx this week said it closed a previously announced public offering of 3,809,524 shares of its common stock for gross proceeds of approximately $20 million. The firm granted the underwriter for the offering a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 571,428 shares.

Volition said it intends to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include continued product development, clinical studies, product commercialization, working capital, and other general corporate purposes, including potential strategic acquisitions.

Cantor Fitzgerald acted as the sole bookrunning manager of the offering.


Predictive Oncology said this week that it has entered into definitive agreements with several institutional and accredited investors for the issuance and sale of an aggregate of approximately 4,222,288 shares of its common stock, at a purchase price of $1.75 per share, for gross proceeds of approximately $7.4 million, in a registered direct offering priced at-the-market. Predictive Oncology has also agreed to issue unregistered warrants to the investors to purchase up to an aggregate of approximately 2,111,114 shares of common stock. The closing of the offering is expected on or about Feb. 16.

The warrants have an exercise price equal to $2 per share, are exercisable immediately upon issuance, and will expire five-and-a-half years from the issuance date.

The company said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital purposes.

HC Wainwright is acting as the exclusive placement agent for the offering.


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.