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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer, Qiagen, UgenTec, and More

NEW YORK – In a Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, PerkinElmer said it incurred about $3 million in restructuring costs during the third quarter. The company said it implemented a restructuring plan during the quarter ended Sept. 30 that included implementing a workforce reduction that cut its employee headcount by 23 people. The company also took a charge of $2.1 million in its Discovery & Analytical solutions segment and a charge of $901,000 in its Diagnostics segment.


Qiagen said this week that it has commenced a share repurchase program that was initially announced on May 6, 2019. From Nov. 11 to Dec. 17 at the latest, up to $100 million of Qiagen shares (or the equivalent amount in euros), without purchasing costs, will be repurchased through a financial institution commissioned by Qiagen exclusively on the electronic trading platform of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Based on the closing price on Nov. 10, this represents a repurchase volume of approximately 2 million sharesThe company noted that the repurchase program reflects confidence in its own growth and reaffirms its commitment to shareholders.


UgenTec and MolGen this week signed an agreement to commercialize a rapid SARS-CoV-2 test developed by TNO, the Dutch organization for applied bioscientific research. The assay, based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification, combines MolGen's PurePrep automated sample preparation technology with UgenTec's FastFinder software package for data interpretation and reporting, sample and instrument tracking, and quality control. The partners said that the test will enable labs to obtain a test result in 90 minutes using an end-to-end workflow. The assay will initially be for research use only and will be marketed in the Netherlands and surrounding companies, with the potential for CE IVD marking and expansion to additional geographies, a UgenTec spokesperson said.


OpGen announced this week that its subsidiary Ares Genetics launched an early access program for its next-generation sequencing-based molecular antibiotic resistance test for profiling genetic AMR markers from native specimens. The hybrid capture-based targeted assay, which uses the firm’s ARESdb reference database for AMR markers, is currently available for research use only. The database covers more than 55,000 bacterial strains and associated susceptibility data for more than 100 different antibiotics, the company said.

The test is an expanded version of the firm's ARESupa Universal Pathogenome test, which was launched in 2019 to identify pathogens and AMR genes from bacterial isolates. OpGen also noted that it has already received commercial orders for the test exceeding a bulk order volume of $250,000.


Plant-based technology company Calyxt this week announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with NRGene that includes the adoption of NRGene's cloud-based genomics platform to support Calyxt’s research projects, including comprehensive evaluations to accelerate trait discovery and breeding across multiple crops. 

Calyxt is using its breeding techniques and TALEN technology to optimize product performance and transition hemp to a broad acre crop for use across food, industrial fiber, and therapeutic applications. NRGene's QuickGENETICS technology analyzes breeding populations, delivers high resolution genetic mapping, and generates unique genetic markers for high value traits. NRGene's CannaGene technology is an optimized and customizable genomics database allowing for the search and discovery of novel gene candidates to enable Calyxt to target key traits of interest in hemp. 

Calyxt is integrating NRGene’s genomic resources to further develop its proprietary predictive data analytics, which combines data, predictive algorithms, and data visualization tools to develop customized products to meet specific customer requirements. The company said it is also adopting advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality to enhance its data analytics capabilities.


Caris Life Sciences said this week that Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah has joined Caris' Precision Oncology Alliance, a collaborative network of cancer centers that work together to advance comprehensive cancer profiling and establish standards of care for molecular testing in oncology. HCI is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West region, and serves the largest geographic region of all centers, covering Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming.

The Caris Precision Oncology Alliance now includes more than 40 cancer centers and academic institutions. These institutions have early access to Caris Molecular Artificial Intelligence products and are working to establish evidence-based standards for cancer profiling and molecular testing in oncology.

 


 

10x Genomics disclosed this week that it is in the process of buying additional land in Pleasanton, California, where it is headquartered, for $29.8 million.

 

In a Nov. 12 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm said it entered into the purchase agreement on Aug. 10 and on Oct. 15 sent a notice of satisfaction to the seller and deposited $800,000.

 

10x said it intends to use this site "to accommodate its future growth requirements."

 


Bruker said this week that its board of directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of $.04 per share, payable on Dec. 18 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 1. 


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. 

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.