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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer, Stilla Technologies, Emedgene, and More

NEW YORK – PerkinElmer disclosed in its Form 10K to the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week that it reduced its headcount in 2019 by 430 and took restructuring charges of $29.4 million related to the reduction. The company recorded restructuring charges of $7.6 million in its diagnostics segment and $21.8 million in its discovery and analytical solutions segment. 

The company also said that it acquired five businesses in 2019 for an aggregate consideration of $433.1 million, including Cisbio Bioassays for $219.9 million in cash, and Shangdong Meizheng Bio-Tech for $166.5 million in cash.


Stilla Technologies said this week that it is donating two of its Naica digital PCR systems to the City of Zhengzhou and City of Xinyang in China to help officials there detect SARS-CoV-2 and monitor mutations in the coronavirus. Paris-based Stilla said that Cycloud and Apexbio, itdistributors and business partners in China, will offer technical support, reagents and kits.


Emedgene said this week that it is donating access to a new genome interpretation algorithm called Pathorolo to re-run genome sequences for patients with undiagnosed rare diseases. The company hopes that this machine learning-based algorithm can help research institutions solve such cases with newly available information. Emedgene said it will collaborate with various healthcare organizations, rare disease advocacy groups, and other nonprofits to identify patients who are candidates for this analysis.


Novacyt this week announced that Primerdesign, its molecular diagnostics division, had sold CE-marked and research-use-only COVID-19 tests worth more than £930,000 ($1.2 million) as of Feb. 27. Primerdesign has signed its first distribution agreement with a global life sciences company to supply the COVID-19 test to two Asian territories outside mainland China. Revenues are anticipated to be £2.1 million during the first six months of the agreement, and first sales are expected to occur in March, Novacyt said. 

The firm added it is in discussions with representatives from several countries that have an acute need for tests as part of their national screening programs. The Primerdesign test is under review by the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization that would allow it to be used for clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 in the US.


Qiagen said this week that it has shipped its newly developed QiaStat-Dx Respiratory Panel 2019-nCoV test kit to four hospitals in China for evaluation. The new kit detects the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, as well as 21 other targets for infectious agents causing respiratory disease, and runs on the company’s automated QiaStat-Dx system, which was CE marked in 2018 and cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in mid-2019. Qiagen said it has also begun shipping kits to public health institutions in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, and that it will apply for emergency authorization for marketing of the new panel with the FDA, the Korean KCDC/MFDS, and Chinas National Medical Products Administration. The panel is expected to be available with CE-IVD marking in Europe and other markets.


Prognos Health this week launched the Rare Disease Institute (RDI), a collaborative initiative focused on improving testing, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases. Collaborators include Antidote Technologies, Blueprint Genetics, the Cure GM1 Foundation, Datavant, the Medical College of Wisconsin Genomic Sciences & Precision Medicine Center, PWNHealth, and the United Leukodystrophy Foundation. 

The RDI is planning to partner with pharmaceutical companies, reference and genetic testing labs, health systemsacademic centers, patient advocacy groups, and technology companies to improve access to testing and therapies for patients, educate patients and physicians on available diagnostics, and help the pharmaceutical industry develop new therapies for rare diseases.


Perthera and Lazarex Cancer Foundation launched a partnership this week to match and enroll patients in clinical trials through Lazarex’s IMPACT and CARE programs by using Perthera’s treatment-matching artificial intelligence technology and other elements of the Perthera platform. Perthera’s AI technology enables physicians to use comprehensive patient informatics, such as medical history and molecular profile information, to identify precisely matched therapies for patients.


Toronto-based life sciences and diagnostics company SQI said this week that total revenues for its fiscal first quarter of 2020 declined 29 percent to C$207,000 ($154,000) from C$292,000 a year ago. The firm recorded C$147,000 from product sales, including C$136,000 in kit sales, for the recently completed quarter, and C$60,000 in service revenues.

SQI had a Q1 net loss of C$2.0 million, or C$.01 per share, compared to a net loss of C$1.8 million, or C$.01 per share, a year ago.

Its R&D costs rose 25 percent to C$1.1 million from C$877,000 a year ago, while its corporate and general expenses increased 12 percent to C$364,000 from C$324,000, and its sales and marketing expenses shrank 20 percent to C$259,000 from C$325,000.


Thermo Fisher Scientific announced this week that its board authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $.22 per share payable on April 16 to shareholders of record as of March 16.


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

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.