Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

In Brief This Week: Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, 10x Genomics, and More

This column has been updated to include additional comments from 10x Genomics about its ongoing lawsuit with Bio-Rad Laboratories.

NEW YORK – Illumina this week pledged to match up to $200,000 in donations to the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine as part of a fundraising challenge for the fourth quarter of 2020The partners have already raised $370,000 to support ACMG’s evidence-based guidelines program, including $100,000 from Invitaewhich Illumina has matched. Illumina is also matching a $10,000 individual gift and the firm has pledged to match an additional $90,000 in corporate gifts, should they materialize. 

BioMarin also donated $150,000 to the program prior to the announcement of Illumina's sponsorship. 

ACMG said the Foundation's Guideline Development Fund will enable it to hire qualified methodologists and medical experts who will undertake the work of systematic evidence review and guideline development.

In a form 10-Q filed last week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Illumina disclosed that it will soon begin issuing $35 million monthly continuation payments to Grail as part of the $8 billion planned acquisition announced in September. Illumina said that if the Grail deal is not consummated prior to Dec. 20, it will make the cash payments "until the earlier of the consummation or termination" of the deal. Illumina expects the deal to close in the second half of 2021.

In the event the deal falls through, Illumina would receive shares of non-voting Grail preferred stock in respect of all continuation payments in excess of $315 million. In that event, Illumina would also be required to pay a $300 million termination fee and make an additional $300 million investment in Grail in exchange for non-voting preferred stock.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.22 per share, which will be paid on Jan. 15, 2021 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15, 2020. In addition, the company authorized the repurchase of $2.5 billion worth of shares of its common stock in the open market or in negotiated transactions, with no expiration date. This replaces the firm's existing repurchase authorization, of which $1 billion was remaining. 

In a recent regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Thermo Fisher said that it settled litigation with Unisone Strategic IP on Sept. 30 "by payment of a nominal amount." In 2013, Unisone had sued Thermo Fisher subsidiary Life Technologies in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging that Life Tech's supply chain management system software, which operates with product supply centers installed at customer sites, infringed Unisone's intellectual property.

10x Genomics this week had another setback in its bid to challenge a multimillion-dollar jury verdict against it in a patent infringement suit filed by Bio-Rad Laboratories. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied 10x's petition to have its appeal re-heard, either by a panel of judges or en banc — by all the court's judges. The firm requested the en banc hearing in early October. 

10x challenged the jury verdict and subsequent injunction against selling products that infringe Bio-Rad's patents, among other issues, in 2019. In August, the appellate court upheld the US District Court for the District of Delaware's decision to deny 10x's motion to overturn the jury verdict as a matter of law and affirmed the jury's finding of infringement and $24 million in damages awarded to Bio-Rad. 

But the appellate court vacated the injunction for two products for which 10x has not yet designed a non-infringing alternative, determining that the district court had erred in constructing claims for two of the three patents at suit. It ordered a new trial to determine whether 10x's products infringe those patents.

"We believe the court is incorrect in its interpretation of the law and will be asking for the Supreme Court to review," 10x said in an email. "We will do everything in our power to ensure that the scientific community continues to have the best solutions available to advance their important research."

Exagen said this week that it is collaborating with Brigham and Women's Hospital to study the emergence of autoimmune diseases after COVID-19. PCR-confirmed COVID-19 patients from Brigham and Women's who elect to participate will be categorized by COVID-19 severity as either mild (outpatient), moderate (inpatient, not ICU), or severe (ICU)as assessed by two validated questionnaires and tested using Exagen's AVISE biomarkers to investigate the new onset of rheumatic disease symptoms and autoantibodies in the three months to one year following onset of COVID-19. Exagen's AVISE testing products are based on the company's proprietary cell-bound complement activation products, or CB-CAPs, which assess the activation of the complement system, a biological pathway implicated in systemic lupus erythematosus. 

Oxford BioDynamics said this week that it has entered into a partnership with Boca Biolistics under which Oxford Bio will receive a diverse range of blood samples from COVID-19 patients. The samples will include clinical information on disease severity and will be used by the Oxford, UK-based firm to support development of its EpiSwitch prognostic immune-response test. The samples will add to Oxford Bio’s existing database of more than 500 UK and US samples. Boca is prospectively procuring samples for Oxford Bio from the USthe Caribbeanand South America. Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Calibre Scientific recently announced the acquisition of Hamburg, Germany-based Dianova, a distributor of antibodies, immunoassays, and products for molecular biology, and a manufacturer of primary antibodies for histopathology. Financial and other terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Calibre said it will integrate Dianova into its subsidiary Biozol Diagnostica to create a distribution network to service Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. In October, Los Angeles-based Calibre also acquired Lorne Laboratories for an undisclosed amount.

Centogene said this week that it has opened a walk-in COVID-19 testing facility at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. This is the company's fourth coronavirus airport testing center, following those at the airports in Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf. The new center, which offers Centogene's SARS-CoV-2 PCR test, caters to arriving and departing travelers as well as the general public. 

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.