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In Brief This Week: NIH, AstraZeneca, Genomic Vision, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration this week awarded $21 million to 46 community health centers to support their participation in the National Institutes of Health's All of Us Research Program. The funds will support the community health centers' abilities to enroll and retain participant partners in All of Us, and will also advance their interoperability functionality, preparedness to use and share patient data, and capacity to participate in future research opportunities, HHS said.

Horizon Discovery said this week that AstraZeneca has joined the Genomics Discovery Initiative (GDI), a collaborative functional genomics screening community facilitated by Horizon. The GDI has more than 60 member institutes worldwide, has generated multiple shared publications, and hundreds of published whole genome siRNA screens, Horizon said.

Genomic Vision announced this week that it has received a second payment from Quest Diagnostics related to the companies' collaboration for the development of new biomarkers to improve the genetic detection of spinal muscular atrophy. The company declined to disclose the amount of the payment.

The two firms originally inked a collaboration in 2011. A first milestone payment was made at the end of 2017, Genomic Vision said. In March, the companies extended their collaboration and commercialization deal. The goal of the second milestone was to perform complementary experiments and analysis on existing samples to identify smaller biomarker for SMN1 cis-duplication, potentially leading to an SMA diagnostic test, Genomic Vision said. During the second phase of the collaboration, seven new patterns were identified as potential new biomarkers for SMN1 cis-duplication, including three with a size below 100 kb.

Laboratory Corporation of America announced this week that for the period of Sept. 11, 2018 to March 8, 2019, its Zero Coupon Convertible Subordinated Notes due 2021 will, subject to their terms, accrue contingent cash interest at a rate of no less than .125 percent of the average market price of the notes for the five trading days ended Sept. 6, 2018, in addition to continued accrual of the original discount. Contingent cash interest, which LabCorp has determined to be approximately $2.89 per note, will be payable to holders of the notes as of the record date, which is Feb. 22, 2019. The payment of contingent cash interest is expected to be made on March 8, 2019.

Luminex's board of directors this week declared a cash dividend for the third quarter of $.06 per share, payable on Oct. 12 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Sept. 21.

Danaher’s board this week approved a regular quarterly dividend of $.16 per share, payable on Oct. 26 to shareholders of record on Sept. 28.

Abbott's board of directors this week declared a quarterly dividend of $.28 cents per share, payable Nov. 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business Oct. 15.

Seqster said this week that it has joined the American Heart Association's Center for Health Technology and Innovation (CHTI) Health Tech Collaborative. San Diego-based Seqster markets a secure  HIPAA-compliant health data management platform that enables individuals to collect, own, and share their health, DNA, and fitness data. As part of its participation in the AHA CHTI collaborative, Seqster said it will integrate health education and interactive content from the AHA portfolio in order to make it easier to identify and manage individuals at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Microbiome Insights said this week that it will receive a contribution of up to C$190,249 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to help support the development of a personal health platform for microbiome testing. The platform will be marketed toward health practitioners treating individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. Microbiome monitoring in people with IBD and in individuals with other chronic disease may provide a tool for assessing response to therapies or to various lifestyle changes, such as diet, when integrated with research findings and ongoing data collection, the company said.

Proteomics International announced this week that it has agreed to sell back its shares in CPR Pharma Services for A$928,399 ($666,000) in cash. The two companies entered into a strategic alliance earlier this year focused on clinical trials and related research. As part of the deal, Proteomics acquired 10 percent of CPR’s share capital in exchange for 4 million of its shares. The memorandum of understanding between them remains in place, Proteomics International said, adding that it has received notice that an offer to purchase all shares of CPR has been received and accepted by CPR’s majority shareholder. The sale is expected to be completed on or about Sept. 30. The issued shares related to the earlier deal will remain in escrow until March 4, 2019.

Computational pathology company SpIntellx said this week that it closed on a seed financing round led by Newlin Investment. The company did not disclose the amount of the financing, which will be used to launch SpIntellx as it pursues strategic partnerships and further validation studies. SpIntellx is using its proprietary artificial intelligence technologies to develop computational tools based on spatial analytics, and its products in development include HistoMapr and TumorMapr.

HistoMapr is a computation guide for pathologists that automatically recognizes and classifies regions of interest in hematoxylin and eosin-stained and/or immunohistochemistry slides. It can be used to improve the accuracy and efficiency of analysis and diagnostic decision-making by pathologists. TumorMapr is used to analyze spatial interactions within whole-slide images using multiplexed fluorescence to predict patient outcomes and provide personalized therapeutic strategies and generate evidence for prognostic and companion diagnostic development.

HonorHealth Research Institute this week joined Caris Life Sciences' Precision Oncology Alliance, which currently has 25 academic, hospital, and community-based institutions. The alliance will use Caris' comprehensive genomic profiling plus tumor profiling service called Caris Molecular Intelligence to identify therapy options and clinical trial opportunities based on the unique molecular characteristics of a patient’s tumor. The goal of the alliance is to develop standards of care and best practices for applying tumor profiling and making cancer treatments more precise and effective.

TriLink BioTechnologies — a maker of custom oligonucleotides and modified nucleic acids for use in research, diagnostics, and therapeutics — said this week that it plans to consolidate its San Diego facilities into a new 95,000-square-foot space with an option to expand for future growth. The new facility, also based in San Diego, will house TriLink's local staff of more than 150 but can also accommodate growth to more than 350 R&D, commercial, and manufacturing employees, the firm said this week. Its parent firm Maravai LifeSciences will also relocate its corporate headquarters to the new facility. TriLink will begin its move in the fall of 2019 and expects to complete it by the end of that year.

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.