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In Brief This Week: Miraculins, Alere; LabCorp; Plasticell, Pfizer, Cellzome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Miraculins said today that Alere has secured a second exclusive option period on Miraculins' preeclampsia technology and will provide Miraculins a non-refundable fee. Under the terms of the original agreement signed two years ago, Alere is working towards the goal of commercializing Miraculins' preeclampsia technology for worldwide distribution.

Speaking at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week, Laboratory Corporation of America Chairman and CEO David King said that the Genzyme Genetics business, which the firm acquired in 2010 for $925 million, has been divided into two new brands: Integrative Genetics and Integrative Oncology.

King highlighted the firm's growing presence in molecular diagnostics, companion diagnostics, and personalized medicine, bolstered by the acquisitions of Genzyme Genetics, Clearstone Central Laboratories in June 2011, and Orchid Cellmark, which LabCorp recently acquired for $85.4 million.

He also said that he believes LabCorp will be a primary channel through which companion diagnostics and sequencing-based diagnostic tests come to market.

Plasticell said this week that the UK Technology Strategy Board has funded a research consortium comprising of Plasticell, Pfizer (Neusentis), the University of Sheffield, and led by Cellzome, which will develop methods of characterizing stem cells through protein fingerprints predictive of changes in stem cell behaviour. The TSB is providing a grant of £900,000 ($1.4 million) towards the project as part of its Regenerative Medicine Programme.

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

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.