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In Brief This Week: Illumina, Genomics Medicine Ireland, Genome Canada, and More

NEW YORK – Illumina announced this week that it has donated sequencing systems and consumables for SARS-CoV-2 sequencing to the Africa Centre for Disease Control, worth $1.4 million. The materials will expand sequencing of the virus in 10 countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda.

Genomics Medicine Ireland said this week that it will assist research institutions in their COVID-19 research studies by providing free genome sequencing of infected patients in the country. GMI will receive an unspecified amount of support from Illumina Cambridge for the service, which will be provided to researchers who are working to identify protective and risk-bearing genetic factors for COVID-19 and who will share consented, anonymized data with other researchers through the EMBL-EBI European Genome-phenome Archive database. The clinical research facility at St James' Hospital, which is collaborating with researchers at Trinity College Dublin, is among the initial research facilities participating in these international efforts.

Genome Canada last week launched the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), along with C$40 million ($28.5 million) in federal funding. The network, led by Genome Canada, includes six regional genome centers, national and provincial public health labs, other genome sequencing centers, hospitals, universities, and companies. It will coordinate and scale up existing COVID-19 genomics research in Canada and elsewhere.

CanCOGeN plans to sequence the genomes of 10,000 patients and up to 150,000 viral samples, and will build a "virus to patient" database to inform public health decisions and support the development of therapies and vaccines. It will also establish and manage a framework for data sharing, coordination, and analysis across Canada. The network aims to share data with national and international collaborators to enable additional research, including Canadian vaccine development efforts. An advisory committee will support the initiative to ensure strategic coordination with other Canadian and international COVID-19 health and medical research efforts.

Clinical Genomics said this week that it haamended an existing strategic agreement with Quest Diagnostics, which includes an increased investment by Quest into the company. The amendment further leverages the capabilities of the companies to support Quests commercialization of Clinical Genomics’ Trident Program for colorectal cancer screening, Clinical Genomics said, adding that it also expands its commercialization rights for the Trident Program and Colveraa blood-based test for colorectal cancer recurrence monitoring, outside the US, Mexico, the UK, and India. Terms of the amended deal were not disclosed.

Dutch veterinary diagnostics firm BioChek said this week that it has acquired Biotecona Dutch company that specializes in PCR-based food safety diagnostic tests. The combined company will offer both veterinary and food safety diagnostic testing primarily targeting the meat, egg, dairy, baby food, chocolate, and beer and beverage markets. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Danaher announced this week that it sold its label-free biomolecular characterization, chromatography hardware and resins, microcarriers and particle validation standards, single use tangential flow filtration systems, and stainless-steel hollow fiber tangential flow filtration systems businesses to Sartorius for $825 million. Combined revenues for these businesses was $170 million in 2019. The primary reason for the sale was to obtain regulatory approval for Danaher’s $21.4 billion acquisition of GE’s biopharma business, now called Cytiva, and the closing of the sale was conditioned upon the closing of Danaher’s acquisition on March 31.

European contract research organization Selvita said this week that it has signed a grant agreement with the National Centre for Research and Development to develop a cell-based phenotypic platform based on a high content imaging system integrated with artificial intelligence data analysis for multiple therapeutic areas, including neuroinflammatory and fibrosis drug discovery. The grant will be executed in partnership with bioinformatics company Ardigen.

This grant provides Selvita and Ardigen with almost 1.1 million ($1.2 million) of non-dilutive financing. The total net value of the project is approximately €1.9 million, and it is set to last for three years, the companies said.

TriLink BioTechnologies and Imperial College London announced this week that they have signed a development partnership deal in which TriLink will manufacture self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) for COVID-19 vaccine development program led by Professor Robin Shattock in the college’s department of infectious diseaseUnder the terms of the deal, TriLink is set to deliver saRNA manufacturing capabilities for the vaccine program up to a Phase II scale. TriLink has also been awarded an additional partnership with Imperial for the development of Marburg virus and rabies.

Biocartis said this week that it has created 850,000 share options under a new plan called the "Share Option Plan 2020B.The share options have a term of 10 years, are non-transferrable, and cannot be exercised prior to the first day of the fourth calendar year following the calendar year in which the offer of share options is made to a beneficiary. Each share option gives the right to subscribe to one new ordinary Biocartis share.

If the share options are exercisedBiocartis will apply for the admission to trading of the resulting new shares on Euronext Brussels. The share option will not be listed on any stock market.

Interpace Biosciences said this week that its Interpace Diagnostics subsidiary has signed a coverage contract with Avalon Healthcare Solutions that includes two of the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in the Southeastern US. The contract will cover the company’s ThyGeNext and ThyraMir thyroid cancer detection assays as an in-network service. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Becton Dickinson said this week that its board has declared a quarterly dividend of $.79 per share payable on June 30 to shareholders of record on June 9. The indicated annual dividend rate is $3.16 per share.

PerkinElmer said this week that its board declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.07 per share of common stock, payable on Aug. 7 to all shareholders of record at the close of business on July 17.

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.