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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer, Synthego, Rare Genomics Institute, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – PerkinElmer reduced its headcount by 109 employees in 2018 as a result of restructuring actions, it said in its Form 10-K filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The restructuring plan was implemented to realign resources to emphasize growth initiatives and resulted in restructuring or contract termination charges totaling $8.1 million. According to the SEC document, there were 47 layoffs in Q1, 61 in Q3, and 1 in Q4.

Genome engineering technologies firm Synthego said this week that it will offer a variety of grants to research lab awardees worth $1 million in total of its CRISPR Engineered Cells and CRISPRevolution synthetic sgRNA kits. The Redwood City, California-based firm said that it will support all requested reagent costs for the winners of the grants, at a minimum of $10,000 and up to $250,000. It also intends to develop a comprehensive strategy with grant recipients on the scope of their research, which might enable them to generate new models of disease, discover potential cures, or engineer a desired trait into a plant.

The firm is accepting applications  through March 29, and winners will be announced on April 19. Researchers can apply on Synthego's website.

International non-profit Rare Genomics Institute said this week that it has partnered with Dante Labs, an Italy- and US-based diagnostic laboratory specializing in genetic testing, whole-genome sequencing, and rare disease research. Under the terms of the partnership, Dante Labs has agreed to provide pro bono WGS to select patients from the Rare Genomics Institute, as well as personalized reports based on the patients' medical histories and symptoms. The partners said that they will focus their efforts on child and adult rare disease patients around the world who cannot afford such testing.

Waters disclosed in its Form 10-K filed with the SEC this week that it reduced its worldwide workforce by 1 percent in January 2019. The firm said it anticipates it will incur around $15 million in severance and related costs in 2019. As of the end of 2018, it had approximately 7,200 employees worldwide, of which 39 percent were based in the US.

Porvair Sciences said this week it is participating in a £2.6 million ($3.4 million) project led by Swansea University that aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. The Cluster of Epigenomic and Antibody Drug Conjugate Therapeutics (CEAT) project will involve Porvair, Bruker UK, GE Healthcare UK, Axis Bio, and GlaxoSmithKline. The project aims to use novel epigenetic drugs and antibody-drug conjugates to manipulate chemical compounds and create new treatments for ovarian cancer. Using its proprietary Chromatrap bead-free chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) technology, Porvair will develop new epigenomic profiling approaches for drug development and patient profiling. CEAT has been awarded £1.2 million from the European Regional Development Fund via the Welsh Government's SMART Expertise program and the Welsh European Funding Office.

Oxford Gene Technology said this week that it is expanding its Cytocell operations with a move to a new facility in Cambridge, UK. Cytocell is the company's fluorescence in situ hybridization probe brand, and the new facility will support expansion of the organization's sales volumes and predicted sales growth of Cytocell products. In addition to investing in the Cytocell brand, OGT parent company Sysmex said it is considering creating a global R&D facility at the premises to evaluate new technologies and pursue collaborations with key opinion leaders, in order to bring new products to the market.

Celcuity this week reported that it had a net loss of $1.8 million, or .$18 per share, in the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.7 million, or $.17 per share, in Q4 2017. On an adjusted basis, the company had a net loss of $.15 per share in the recently completed quarter. The cellular analysis and diagnostics firm reported no revenues for the quarter.

Celcuity said its R&D costs grew 14 percent year over year to $1.6 million from 14 percent in Q4 2017. Its general and administrative costs declined 25 percent to $316,460 from $420,963.

For full-year 2018, the company reported a net loss of $7.5 million, or $.74 per share, compared to a net loss of $6.3 million, or $.84 per share, in 2017. Adjusted net loss for 2018 was $.62.

Its R&D spending in 2018 increased 26 percent to $6.3 million from $5.0 million, while its general and administrative costs grew 64 percent to $1.6 million from $972,518.

Celcuity finished the year with $15.9 million in cash and cash equivalents.

In a statement, Celcuity Cofounder and CEO Brian Sullivan noted that the firm has completed development of its second test based on the company's functional cellular analysis platform. The CELx signaling function test for HER2-negative breast cancer is meant to identify HER2-negative breast cancer patients who have hyperactive or co-activated HER family and c-Met signaling activity. Further, the firm has progressed in its development of new CELx signaling function tests for diagnosing new cancer subtypes, including a third test for breast cancer and tests for two new tumor tissue types, Sullivan said.

Canadian life sciences and diagnostics company SQI Diagnostics said this week that its revenues declined 22 percent to C$292,000 ($222,000) in its fiscal first quarter from C$376,000 a year ago. Recurring kit sales for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2018 were C$246,000 compared to C$30,000 a year ago. The firm noted that in the year-ago quarter, revenues were concentrated largely on the sale of two platforms and accounted for 70 percent of revenues in that period.

SQI's R&D spending was trimmed 6 percent year over year to C$877,000 in Q1 2019 from C$935,000. Its SG&A costs were reduced 5 percent to C$649,000 from C$680,000.

The company finished Q1 2019 with C$2.2 million in assets, including C$1.2 million in working capital surplus.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that it its board has authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $.19 per share, payable on April 16 to shareholders of record as of March 15. This represents a 12 percent increase over the previous dividend payment of $.17 per share, the company added.

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.