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In Brief This Week: Roche, Two Pore Guys, Siemens Healthineers, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche announced this week that it has commenced a cash tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Ignyta for $27 per share. The tender offer is being made pursuant to a merger agreement entered into by Ignyta and Roche on Dec. 21, and will expire on Feb. 7. Following successful completion of the tender offer, any shares not acquired will be acquired in a second step merger at the same price of $27 per share. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the first half of 2018.


Two Pore Guys said this week that it is collaborating with Maxim Integrated products on a series of analog signal-processing technologies for 2PG's solid-state nanopore diagnostic testing platform. As part of the collaboration, Maxim has invested an unspecified amount in 2PG through its venture arm Maxim Ventures. 2PG's hand-held, single-molecule diagnostic testing platform, called MoM for Molecule Meter, uses silicon nanopore chips for both nucleic acid and protein detection via electronic signals. Maxim's chip sets optimize the sensing capabilities of the 2PG technology, the company noted, enabling higher resolution of molecular structures, types, and sizes. The companies will work together to build customized, dedicated chips that reduce cost, size, and power while improving field robustness.


Siemens Healthineers said this week that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Fast Track Diagnostics. The closing occurred on Dec. 19. The deal expands the Siemens Healthineers molecular diagnostics portfolio, the firm said. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Human Longevity and AMRA of Sweden said this week that they have partnered to provide customers of HLI's Health Nucleus service with AMRA's MRI-based body composition profiling. Health Nucleus integrates genomics, metabolic profiling, and other clinical testing with whole-body and brain MRI. The agreement follows after HLI tested AMRA's body composition profiling for more than a year.


Technology and managed services firm Concert Genetics this week completed a growth capital financing round with a structured facility led by Deerfield Management. The company did not disclose how much money it raised, but noted that the funds would be used to further advance its proprietary digital platform and "enable greater connectivity between providers, laboratories, and health insurers" regarding the use of genetic testing.


The National Society of Genetic Counselors said this week that it will join a strategic advisory body that guides the development of CancerLinQ, a health information technology platform the American Society of Clinical Oncology is building to improve the quality of cancer care in the US. NSGC Past President Joy Larsen Haidle will represent the society on the CancerLinQ Oncology Leadership Council, and the organization will also have access to curated clinical data on the state of current cancer care through the CancerLinQ Discovery program.  


Netherlands-based VHLGenetics this week inked a distribution agreement with Weatherbys Scientific of Ireland. Under the terms of the agreement, Weatherbys will market VHLGenetics' products in the US, Ireland, and the UK. The firm sells dedicated genotyping and mutation detection assays for animals such as cats and dogs, which will complement Weatherbys products for equine and bovine genotyping, the companies said.


BGI and the Federation of Shenzhen Commerce announced this week that they have signed a memorandum of cooperation to jointly develop the BGI Global Innovation Center. As one of the seven locations of Shenzhen Overseas Innovation Centers, the BGI Global Innovation Center will aim to bridge the medical, education, science, and IT resources of Shenzhen and the US cities of Seattle and San Jose, BGI said. The center will focus on health care, precision medicine, artificial intelligence, and big data.


Precision medicine company OneOme said this week it is partnering with PWNHealth to give patients access to OneOme's RightMed pharmacogenetics test through the firm's website, and without the need to talk to a doctor first. Once a request for the test is initiated, PWNHealth's clinical team will review the request and the health information provided by the patient. If approved, a licensed, independent physician will order the test. When test results are ready, the patient will have to schedule a phone or video consult with a PWNHealth licensed genetic counselor trained in pharmacogenetics to discuss their results. RightMed analyzes a given patient's response to more than 340 medications used to treat more than 30 medical conditions, the firm said.


IGene Laboratory announced this week that its molecular diagnostic laboratory has been granted a licence by the Ministry of Health in Singapore to provide its noninvasive prenatal test iGene in Singapore and the region. IGene Laboratory is a wholly owned subsidiary of INex Innovations Exchange, a molecular diagnostics company with a focus on women’s and fetal health. The iGene test detects Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome in pregnant mothers.


Precision for Medicine announced this week that it is expanding its biomarker data management and translational informatics services into Europe, by adding a team of experts in Geneva, Switzerland to complement its US translational research services.


In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on the GenomeWeb site.

The Scan

Looking for Omicron

NPR reports that SARS-CoV-2 testing in the US has gotten better but also that some experts say more needs to be done to better track the Omicron variant.

Holmes Alleges Abuse

The Associated Press reports that Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes has testified at her wire fraud trial that her business and romantic partner abused her.

Bit More Diverse, But More to Do

While Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than previously, they are still underrepresented, according to US News & World Report.

PNAS Papers on Yeast Gene Silencing, Zika Virus Inhibition, Immunoglobulin Hypermutation

In PNAS this week: gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possible neuroprotective role for SHFL in a mouse model of Zika virus infection, and more.