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In Brief This Week: Foundation Medicine, PerkinElmer, Enzo Biochem, and More

NEW YORK – Foundation Medicine has recalled a number of its FoundationOne CDx test reports because they contained a potentially false-positive microsatellite instability (MSI)-high result, according to a recent entry in the US Food and Drug Administration's Medical Device Recalls database. The company voluntarily initiated the recall in August, informing physicians by phone that they may have received an incorrect MSI-high result in their report and asking them not to use this result to prescribe treatment. All physicians said that no treatment plan utilizing the MSI result had been applied, according to the entry, and eight reports were affected in total. According to Foundation Medicine, the issue came to light during a routine review of sequencing data and the reports were recalled within 24 hours. The eight cases were part of more than 90,000 total cases, of which more than 1,800 had true MSI-high results.

In its Form 10-Q filed recently with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, PerkinElmer reported that after the end of the third quarter, it had acquired Shangdong Meizheng Bio-Tech for a total of $152 million in cash. Additionally, PerkinElmer has a "potential obligation" to pay the former shareholders of the Meizheng group a contingent consideration of up to another $26 million. According to its website, Beijing-based Shangdong Meizheng provides products for the bioscience market, including food safety and environmental monitoring and related life sciences technology.

Enzo Biochem this week issued a letter to its shareholders encouraging them to reject a move by Harbert Discovery Fund to replace two of Enzo's directors. In the letter, the New York City-based company said that Harbert, which it described as a "short-term oriented activist hedge fund with no experience in our industry," has thrown up "roadblocks" in Enzo's efforts to work constructively with them to "understand their perspectives and integrate [Harbert's] nominees into our board refreshment process." Among other things, Harbert has refused to disclose the names of their board nominees, while demanding Enzo replace Bruce Hanna and Barry Weiner from its current board. Both are up for reelection at Enzo's annual shareholders' meeting on Jan. 31, 2020. "We can only interpret their behavior as an indication that their true intent in obtaining board seats is to abandon Enzo's long-term strategy and attempt a fire sale of the company at depressed valuations," the company said in its letter encouraging shareholders to reelect Hanna and Weiner.

Becton Dickinson’s board this week declared a quarterly dividend of $.79 cents per share, payable on Dec. 31 to holders of record on Dec. 10. The indicated annual dividend rate for fiscal year 2020 is $3.16 per share, the company said. BD also declared a quarterly dividend of $15.31 per share on the 6.125 percent mandatory convertible preferred stock, Series A, payable on Feb. 1, 2020 to holders of record on Jan. 15, 2020.

Luminex this week declared a cash dividend for the fourth quarter of $.09 per share, payable on Jan. 15, 2020 to stockholders of record on Dec. 19.

Swiss clinical laboratory testing firm Unilabs said this week that it has acquired Saltro, a diagnostics firm based in the Netherlands. The deal is expected to close on Jan. 1, 2020, pending regulatory approvals. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed. Unilabs anticipates that the acquisition will significantly expand its presence in the Netherlands. Saltro was founded in 2002 after Doctors Laboratory Foundation merged with the thrombosis service in Utrecht. It offers various diagnostics tests including blood tests, function tests, and lung function measurements.

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.