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In Brief This Week: Exact Sciences, Expedeon, Thermo Fisher Scientific, DNA Script, and More

NEW YORK – Exact Sciences said this week it completed its $2.8 billion acquisition of Genomic Health. Separately, the firm said that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted breakthrough device designation to its hepatocellular carcinoma test. A new study of 443 patients by Exact Sciences and collaborators showed 80 percent sensitivity at 90 percent specificity with a combination of six blood-based biomarkers for the cancer, which is the most common type of liver cancer. At early-stage HCC, the study showed 71 percent sensitivity and 90 percent specificity. 


Expedeon reported on Thursday that its third quarter revenues increased 11 percent year over year. Revenues totaled €4.1 million ($4.5 million) in Q3, up from €3.7 million during the year-ago quarter. The company's Q3 net loss was €205,000, down 60 percent from €519,000 in Q3 of 2018. As of Sept. 30, Expedeon had €3.3 million in cash and cash equivalents. The firm said it continues to expect double-digit revenue growth for all of 2019.


Thermo Fisher Scientific this week declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.19 per share, to be paid on Jan. 15, 2020 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17, 2019. The company's board also authorized the repurchase of $2.5 billion of shares of common stock on the open market or in negotiated transactions. The authorization has no expiration date and replaces the company's existing repurchase authorization, of which $500 million was remaining.


DNA Script said this week that it has acquired a new office and lab space in South San Francisco. The synthetic DNA company, based in Paris, said it will use the US office to streamline its outreach and support for customers across North America.


Horizon Discovery Group said this week that it has reached an agreement to divest its animal research models business unit to Envigo. The divestment forms part of Horizon’s strategy to refocus on high-growth areas within its core market and is expected to be completed within 30 to 45 days, subject to customary closing conditions. The two companies will collaborate to ensure continuity and enable all customers to access CRISPR-edited research models for screening and other applications, Horizon said.


BC Platforms said this week that it has opened a new location in Singapore to support its activities in the Asia-Pacific region, including China. The firm plans to deploy a team of experts covering regional sales, customer services, and R&D functions in Singapore. The genomic data management and analysis company is headquartered in Switzerland and has R&D operations in Finland and sales and marketing offices in London, Boston, and Vancouver.


Cadex Genomics said this week that it has opened a high-complexity molecular diagnostics laboratory at the University of New Orleans Advanced Materials Research Institute, where it will create 50 new jobs.


Veterinary pharmaceutical firm Anivive Lifesciences and pet genetic testing company Basepaws said this week that they are conducting a study into feline genetics and diabetes. Cat owners can sign up for the study online and will receive a free DNA collection kit. The goal is to help advance the development of targeted and potentially disease-modifying therapies as well as genetic diagnostic tests for feline diabetes.


Oncimmune said this week it has drawn down the second tranche of its €8.5 million ($9.5 million) credit facility with IPF Management. The second tranche of €3.5 million was drawn on Oct. 18. The firm drew down an initial tranche of  €5.0 million in September.


Mobilion Systems said this week that it is partnering with Lance Wells and Michael Tiemeyer, principal investigators at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia, to evaluate the firm's patented ion mobility separations technology, Structures for Lossless Ion Manipulation, for the research of glycans and glycoproteins. Mobilion, based in Chadds Fords, Pennsylvania, said that its technology advances the capabilities of current liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analytical workflows by enabling multi-dimensional analysis of biologically relevant molecules with high levels of resolution and throughput. By extending the ion mobility path far beyond other devices, the technology produces more extensive separations to reveal previously undetectable molecules, the company added. 


Celcuity this week said that its third quarter net loss increased to $2 million, or $0.19 per share, from a net loss of $1.87 million, or $0.18 per share, a year ago. The Minneapolis-based firm reported no revenues. Its Q3 R&D costs rose 6 percent year over year to $1.7 million from $1.6 million, while its general and administrative costs were flat year over year at $379,718 compared to $376,796 in Q3 2018. At the end of Q3, Celcuity had cash, cash equivalents, and investments of $20.4 million. The firm's chairman and CEO Brian Sullivan said in a statement that the firm "continued to make progress advancing development of new CELx tests to diagnose patients with new cancer subtypes and establishing collaborations with pharmaceutical companies." The company's CELx platform uses a patient's tumor cells to identify abnormal cellular activity driving the patient's cancer and the most appropriate therapy.


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

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.