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In Brief This Week: Illumina, Guardant Health, PerkinElmer, and More

NEW YORK – Illumina this week celebrated the fifth anniversary of its accelerator program. The sequencing firm accepted five new companies for the Accelerator's tenth funding cycle, including 4Basecare Genomics, a precision oncology company developing personalized diagnostics and treatment guidance for cancer patients in Asia. Over its lifetime, the Illumina Accelerator has graduated 33 companies and helped them raise over $300 million, the company said.

Guardant Health said this week that it has initiated its planned ECLIPSE (Evaluation of ctDNA LUNAR Assay In an Average Patient Screening Encounter) trial, a 10,000-patient observational study that will evaluate the performance of the company's LUNAR-2 circulating cell-free DNA test in detecting colorectal cancer in average-risk adults.

ECLIPSE is now enrolling individuals aged 45 to 84 who are eligible to receive a routine colonoscopy and who meet other criteria like not having certain bowel-related health conditions, not having had a colonoscopy in the past nine years, and not having had another non-invasive CRC test in the last three years. Guardant said the trial will involve multiple sites, but the National Institutes of Health library page for the study currently lists only the Jackson Clinic in Jackson, Tennessee.

The estimated primary completion date for the trial is January 2022, and its final completion date is listed as 2024. If successful, Guardant expects data from ECLIPSE to support a premarket approval submission to the US Food and Drug Administration.

PerkinElmer this week declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.07 per share of its common stock, payable on Feb. 7, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 17, 2020.

Affinimark Technologies said this week the US Food and Drug Administration has granted breakthrough designation for the company's cerebrospinal fluid test strip, which is intended for the real-time detection of cerebrospinal fluid leaks. It provides a positive or negative result when suspected fluid is tested, allowing clinicians to make a diagnosis and determination whether intervention is necessary. Affinimark said that the product has gone through the proof of concept and prototyping stages, and the company is initiating a Series C financing round to fund a clinical trial and analytical bench testing over the next 18 months for a de novo510(k) submission to the FDA by Q1 2021.

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.

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The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.