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In Brief This Week: Natera, Thermo Fisher Scientific, CMS, and More

NEW YORK – Natera said in a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month that a California appellate court upheld a ruling on Feb. 28 regarding several class action lawsuits in favor of the company. The suits were originally filed in 2016 against Natera, its directors, certain company officers, and certain stockholders, claiming that the registration statement filed by Natera in conjunction with its 2015 IPO contained false or misleading statements, or omitted material information. In 2017, the court dismissed the claims, and the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint later that year. In 2018, the court issued a judgment in favor of Natera's pleadings, which the plaintiffs appealed. Following the hearing of the appeal last month, the Court of Appeals for the State of California affirmed the judgment in favor of Natera.

Following the announcement last week that Thermo Fisher Scientific intends to acquire Qiagen for $11.5 billion in cash, Thermo Fisher this week released additional details about the proposed deal, which the companies expect will close next year. 

In a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company listed circumstances under which the deal could be terminated, noting that Qiagen would have to make a $367 million termination payment in cash to Thermo Fisher under one set of circumstances, and that Thermo Fisher would have to give Qiagen a $575 million reverse termination payment in cash if the deal was terminated under another set of circumstances.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week that it has developed a second Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System code that can be used by laboratories to bill for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests. The U0002 code allows labs to bill for assays that are not from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Claims using this code can be submitted after April 1 for dates of service after February 4. Labs performing the CDC test should use code U0001. Medicare hasn’t established national payment rates for either code, so it’s currently up to the local Medicare Administrative Contractor to develop the payment amount for each code.

PreCheck Health Services announced this week that it has signed an exclusive deal with an unnamed US-based molecular diagnostics company to distribute its COVID-19 test, which currently detects both strains of the COVID-19 virus, as well as the company’s other products in Russia. PreCheck has ordered an initial 7,500 COVID-19 test kits and will be registering the product in Russia.

Interpace Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Interpace Biosciences, said this week that it has signed an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts to cover its ThyGenext and ThyraMir thyroid cancer detection tests as in-network services. The BCBS plan covers more than 3 million individuals in Massachusetts and New England.

Fluidigm said this week that it has established a center of excellence(CoEfor imaging mass cytometry in Singapore in collaboration with the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), part of the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR). As the first CoE for imaging mass cytometry in Singapore and Southeast Asia, the center will focus on single-cell deep spatial immunoprofiling to demonstrate the utility of highly multiplexed imaging across a range of disease areas such as cancer immunology. The center will be housed in SIgN's premises at Biopolis, Singapore's biomedical research hub, and will serve as a regional platform for scientific innovation, training, and services in mass cytometry and IMC, and will accelerate innovation in new product development and pre-commercial product testing.

Agilent said this week that it has signed Medicinal Genomics as a US Value Added Reseller for Agilent’s Aria qPCR instruments and its Bravo liquid handling DNA purification and lab automation platform in the US. Agilent believes the products will allow MBC to provide more options to clients aiming to scale their cannabis testing operations and increase volume, while maintaining high standards for testing accuracy and efficiency. 

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.