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In Brief This Week: Life Technologies; GenMark Diagnostics; Precision BioSciences, Cellectis; Children's Hospital Boston

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies said this week that it has acquired Matrix MicroScience, a UK-based manufacturer of large-volume, automated sample prep systems and consumables for food safety testing, for an undisclosed amount.

Matrix MicroScience's technology will be added to Life Tech's existing food-borne pathogen detection workflow, and has the potential to reduce the cost of testing by more than half and speed up time to result by hours or days in some cases, Nir Nimrodi, head of Animal Health and Food Safety for Life Technologies, told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication PCR Insider.

GenMark Diagnostics, through its Clinical Micro Sensors subsidiary, has entered into an amended lease agreement for expansion of the premises currently leased by GenMark, according to a filing this week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the lease has been extended to January 2021 with the monthly installment of base rent and licensing fees — covering use of the expansion space for warehousing and storage — ranging from $63,000 to around $104,000.

Precision BioSciences said this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a first, non-final Office Action in the reexamination proceedings for US Patent No. 7,897,372, which is owned by French firm Cellectis. According to Precision Bio, USPTO rejected every claim of the '372 patent as being anticipated by or obvious in view of prior art. The patent is one of a couple at the center of an ongoing IP battle between the firms.

Children's Hospital Boston has launched the CLARITY Challenge, a $25,000 competition to advance standards for genomic analysis and interpretation and the reporting of clear, actionable results to clinicians and patients. Competitors will seek to discover the unknown genetic basis of disorders faced by three pediatric patients and create best practices for interpreting and presenting genomic sequence results to patients, their families, and physicians to help guide healthcare decisions.

Life Technologies and Complete Genomics will provide the de-identified clinical summaries and genome sequences, which will be derived from three children seen at the Manton center for Orphan Disease Research at Children's Hospital Boston.

The winning team will be announced in October 2012.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.