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In Brief This Week: NASA, UK Government, Berkeley Lights, and More

NEW YORK – NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this week it is collaborating with the National Cancer Institute Consortium for Molecular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions (MCL) to digitize a repository of pathology data to make it readily accessible to researchers from across the seven sites of the MCL. The partners will deploy Proscia'Concentriq to serve as the foundational software infrastructure for the initiative.

The UK government said this week it will open two high throughput diagnostic testing laboratories early next year, creating up to 4,000 jobs. When they are operating at full capacity, the testing labs ─ which will be located in Scotland and in Leamington Spa in England ─ are expected to add 600,000 tests per day to the UK's testing capacity.

The laboratories are an important component of the UK’s national infrastructure, its ability to respond to future epidemics, and to add testing capacity for other critical illnesses, including cancers, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the UK government said. The labs will use technologies built by British manufacturers, including for automation, robotics, and consumables.

Berkeley Lights this week announced a public offering of 3 million shares of common stock by certain selling shareholders, priced at $86 per share. Berkeley Lights will not receive any proceeds from the offering.

JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Cowen are acting as lead book-running managers for the offering. The selling shareholders are expected to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 450,000 shares of stock.

In Thursday trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Berkeley Lights sank 12 percent on news of the pricing, closing at $81.63.

NRGene and Philoseed this week announced a collaboration for DNA-marker-based ToBRFV trait integration using NRGene's genomic technology. Under the collaboration, the partners will map the identified tomato resistance source for ToBRFV by Philoseed using ultra-density genetic mappingThe partners will then use a set of DNA markers covering the entire tomato genome to introduce the ToBRFV trait efficiently into Philoseed's diverse tomato varieties while minimizing introgression of additional genetic components from the TBRFV-resistant tomato donor. NRGene's genomics coupled with Philoseed's breeding qualities will accelerate the breeding process for ToBRFV resistance, the companies said, adding that they expect to release new commercial varieties in 2022.

DermTech said this week that it has entered into an agreement, effective Nov. 3, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for the company's PLA gene expression test for the early detection of melanoma to be made available to Blue Cross Blue Shield's Commercial PPO and Medicare Advantage membership. The test offers significant benefits in early melanoma detection and reduced biopsies of benign lesions, while also reducing overall healthcare costs, the company said.

Interpace Biosciences said this week that it has received notice from the Nasdaq that the firm is in violation of Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250 (c)(1), due to the delay in filing its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The rule requires that companies file all periodic reports with the SEC in a timely manner. Interpace was provided 60 days to submit its plan to show compliance with the filing requirement. The Nasdaq has the discretion to grant Interpace up to 180 days from the SEC deadline to file the Form 10-Q based on thplan.

Enzo Biochem reported this week that it estimates its revenues for the quarter ending Oct. 31 will meet or exceed $27 million, representing sequential growth of at least 40 percent. 

The company also said that Fabian Blank and Peter Clemens have resigned from the board of directors, effective immediately. Both board members were originally nominated by Enzo investor Harbert Discovery Fund. Separately, the company said Mary Tagliaferri has been appointed to the board, effective immediately. 

Tagliaferri currently serves as executive clinical fellow and senior vice president at Nektar Therapeutics. She previously served as chief medical officer at Nektar, as well as chief medical officer and chief regulatory officer for Kanglaite-USA, and was cofounder, president, and board member of Bionovo.

Agilent Technologies this week declared a quarterly dividend of $.19 per share, to be paid on Jan. 27, 2021, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Jan. 5, 2021.

Fulgent Genetics is partnering with the Los Angeles Network for Enhanced Services (LANES) and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to support data exchange for coronavirus tests performed at approximately 20 local drive-thru, walk-up, and community clinic testing sites.

The partners noted this week in a statement that many of the walk-thru and drive-thru testing sites in LA are set up by DHS and other county public health agencies, but some sites are unable to transfer the data to community clinics lacking electronic health record connectivity capabilities. Since May 25, Fulgent Genetics has administered thousands of laboratory-developed tests daily at community sites across Southern California to support the state during the public health pandemic crisis. The partnership now facilitates the electronic sharing of COVID-19 test results with DHS and LANES.

BioMérieux has expanded the CE marking on its Argene SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test to include additional specimens. The singleplex SARS-CoV-2 R-Gene real-time PCR test may now be used on saliva and oropharyngeal swab specimens in addition to nasopharyngeal swabs. The firm also announced that it will soon release a CE marked high-throughput multiplex test for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus. 

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.