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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

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.