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In Brief This Week: Oxford BioDynamics, Drawbridge Health, OpGen, and More

NEW YORK – Oxford BioDynamics announced this week it has signed an agreement with Oregon Health & Science University to advance its EpiSwitch COVID-19 disease severity test program. Samples from OHSU will be used to further develop the firm's test, in order to establish a panel of biomarkers to predict patients’ risks of severe disease progression. Oxford will use its EpiSwitch technology to analyze the samples and compare 3D genomes of patients to see how they responded to the virus, the company said. The OHSU samples will come with in-depth descriptions and annotations, and will add to Oxford's bank of more than 500 samples.

Drawbridge Health this week announced an additional investment from Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and a new R&D collaboration agreement with the pharma firm. Drawbridge declined to disclose the amount of the investment. The collaboration will focus on developing a biomarker panel for lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and diabetic complications.

Toho Holdings has also made a strategic investment in Drawbridge, and Kyoto University Innovation Capital made a follow-on investment in the firm. The company declined to disclose the amounts of those investments but said they will be used to expand Drawbridge’s presence in the Japanese market and support adoption of its OneDraw Blood Collection Device.

OpGen said this week that its subsidiary Curetis has received a 152,000 ($178,361) German Federal Government grant for a project to look at rapid molecular diagnostics for travel-related and enteric disease in small animals. Curetis will collaborate with Carpegen and Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich on the project, which will develop veterinary applications for the Unyvero A30 RQ platform. The three-year project starts Dec. 1 and Curetis will specifically develop and integrate sample preparation and assays on the Unyvero platform.

BC Platforms said this week that it has been chosen as the data platform partner for the UK's CO-CONNECT – COVID (Curated and Open Analysis anResearch Platformproject. The 18-month effort, funded by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Researchwill provide access to 44 different data sources and standardize collection of COVID-19 antibody data on a federated research platform. BC Platform's BC|Rquest will serve as the primary interoperability software for CO-CONNECT – COVID, while the company's BC|Insight software will provide analytics.

Immutep this week announced a licensing and collaboration agreement with Laboratory Corporation of America to develop immuno-oncology products or services. Immutep, which develops LAG-3 related immunotherapeutic products, declined to provide additional details about the deal, but its CEO Marc Voight said in an email that it provides the company "the chance to contribute to the immuno-oncology diagnostics field."

Immutep said it is eligible to receive potential milestone and service-related payments, and that the deal is unrelated to any of its in-house pharmaceutical development programs in cancer or autoimmune disease.

Progenity this week reported preliminary third quarter revenues of between $25 million and $26 million, up from $17. 1 million in Q2 2020. The company went public this JuneProgenity said that test volume was 84,000 tests in Q3, up from 74,000 in Q2.

Los Angeles-based Calibre Scientific announced this week that it has acquired Lorne Laboratories. Based in the UK, Lorne manufactures blood grouping reagents and diagnostic test kits. It also distributes laboratory equipment, enzymes, and biochemicals. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Intermountain Health and Sanford Health said this week they have signed a letter of intent to merge. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Intermountain said that the merger will enable both organizations to quickly implement value-based strategies and economies of scale. They will also coordinate care and increase the use of telehealth and digital health services to make healthcare more affordable for their communities.

The boards of both non-profit organizations have approved a resolution to proceed with the due diligence process. The merger is anticipated to be completed in 2021. Upon completion, the combined organization will employ more than 89,000 people and operate 70 hospitals and 435 clinics. It will also provide senior care services in 366 locations in 24 states, and will insure 1.1 million people. The merged entity will be headquartered in Salt Lake City, where Intermountain is based, and will have corporate offices in Sioux Fall, South Dakota, where Sanford is based.

Harrison will serve as president and CEO of the new organization. Kelby Krabbenhoft, currently serving as Sanford’s president and CEO, will become president emeritus of the combined organization. Intermountain and Sanford will continue to operate under their current names for the foreseeable future, the partners said. 

DNAnexus and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) have partnered to introduce the NeuroMuscular ObserVational Research (MOVR) Visualization and Reporting Platform (VRP) to support drug discovery and development for neuromuscular disease. The MOVR VRP uses the DNAnexus Apollo platform to capture clinical and genetic variant information from diagnostic tests performed on MOVR participants and stored in the established MOVR Data Hub. A DNAnexus spokesperson said that the Apollo platform can support extension of the VRP to sequencing and patient-reported data in the future. 

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.