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In Brief This Week: Life Technologies; LifeCodexx; Luminex; Quanterix; Precision BioSciences, Cellectis; Ocimum Biosolutions; BGI, Aspera; IDBS, ChemAxon, Thomson Reuters; Genome Designs, SciDM Group

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies this week said that it will invest $20 million in expanding its cell culture facility in Inchinnan, Scotland. The facility, which currently employs 500 people, supplies Life Tech's Gibco cell culture products for the European, Middle East, and Africa regions. Life Tech said that it will break ground on the expansion next year and expects to begin shipping products from the facility in 2014.

GATC Biotech subsidiary LifeCodexx has completed the clinical validation of its sequencing-based prenatal trisomy 21 test, Praena Test, and is in the process of gaining regulatory approval to launch the test as an in vitro diagnostic test initially in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein. The firm said the test, based on the same technology as Sequenom's MaterniT21 Plus test, achieved 100 percent sensitivity and specificity when using LifeCodexx's tubes — but when conventional blood collection methods were used, sensitivity was 81.8 percent and specificity was 98.7 percent.

For more on the LifeCodexx test, see GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Clinical Sequencing News.)

Luminex said this week that it has received the CE Mark for its xMAP NeoPlex4 Assay and NeoPlex System for newborn screening. The assay tests for four analytes — T4, TSH, 17OHP, and total IRT — which can be indicators of congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and cystic fibrosis.

Quanterix has moved to a new facility in Lexington, Mass., to support further expansion. The firm, which makes research tools based on its Single Molecule Array technology, said it plans to accelerate employee growth and fill positions in product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and operations. It didn't provide any further details.

Precision BioSciences has filed a tenth patent infringement suit against French firm Cellectis for alleged infringement of US Patent No. 8,163,514, which related to Precision Bio's Directed Nuclease Editor genome engineering technology.

Ocimum Biosolutions said today that it has formed a joint venture with a Malaysian firm to expand sales of its bioinformatics products and next-generation sequencing services in the ASEAN countries.

With the annual Bio-IT World Conference being held this week in Boston, several bioinformatics partnerships were announced.

In one of these, BGI will integrate and deploy Aspera's Connect Server and fasp high-speed file transferring technology with its EasyGenomics cloud-based software-as-a-service platform.

UK data management firm IDBS announced two alliances. The first is an extension of its partnership with ChemAxon, under which IDBS has added ChemAxon's Reactor engine to its ChemBook electronic laboratory notebook. Reactor produces synthetically relevant virtual libraries to produce a "highly efficient, automated workflow." The second alliance with the Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters will integrate technologies through IDBS' ScienceLink scientific content brokerage platform, providing researchers access to scientific content from Thomson Reuters' Integrity resource.

Meanwhile, Genome Designs said this week that it will use SciDM Group's high-performance database engine, transcriptomics data processing pipeline, and high-throughput sequence comparison technology to augment its own genome annotation pipelines and boost custom software development projects for clients.

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

The Scan

Cell Atlas of Human Lung Development Gives View of Developing Airway

Researchers have generated a cell atlas of human lung development, which they report in Cell.

Study Finds Costs of Genome Sequencing May Limit Utility in Routine Care

Researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics that genome sequencing for rare disease diagnoses currently has similar benefits as less expensive exome analysis.

Study Suggests Nursing Mother's Diet Can Impact Offspring's Gut Microbiome

A new Cell Host and Microbe paper finds that mice whose mothers were fed a low-fiber diet during nursing experience lasting microbiota dysbiosis and increased obesity.

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.