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In Brief This Week: Illumina; Expression Analysis, Pacific Biosciences; Exiqon; GnuBio; XDx; GeneNews

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina announced this week at the Consumer Genetics Conference in Boston that it has lowered the cost of its individual genome sequencing service from $19,500 to $9,500. In addition, the firm said that it now is offering a program to subsidize sequencing for patients with life-threatening disease where whole-genome sequence information may provide their physician with critical tools for diagnosis or treatment. The price under this program is $7,500 per genome and, for cancer patients, $10,000 for a tumor-normal pair.

Last month, Illumina had lowered the cost of its human whole-genome sequencing services to $5,000 per genome for projects of 10 samples or more, and $4,000 for projects of 50 samples or more.

Expression Analysis said this week that it has begun offering sequencing services on Pacific Biosciences' single-molecule sequencing platform. The firm said it is the first commercial provider offering services on the PacBio RS system in the US.

Exiqon said that Tataa Bioscenter and Bioneer have been named centers of excellence as part of a new partnership program. Tataa will market qPCR services based on Exiqon's microRNA LNA qPCR product line, and Bioneer will market in situ hybridization services based on Exiqon's LNA microRNA and mRNA detection product line.

GnuBio said this week that it will deliver its first early-access sequencing system to the Université de Montréal Pharmacogenomics Centre Laboratory at the Montreal Heart Institute by next month. The DNA sequencing system is being designed for the point-of-care market, enabling physicians to make genetic determinations on patients' pre-dispositions within an hour, as opposed to waiting more than a week for results, the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm said. It expects to launch commercial versions of the system next year.

XDx said that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has determined that the firm's AlloMap test is "medically necessary" as a non-invasive method of determining the risk of rejection in heart transplant recipients. AlloMap measures the expression levels of 20 genes in order to predict rejection risk, and was cleared for marketing by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008.

GeneNews has completed its early warrant exercise incentive program, which was announced in late April. As a result of the program, 74 percent of eligible warrants were exercised, resulting in gross proceeds to the firm of C$2.9 million (US$3 million). The firm also has issued 12,752,208 common shares as part of the program and the same number of incentive warrants.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.