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In Brief This Week: Roche, University of Arizona, Immunovia, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche and Foundation Medicine said this week that Roche's wholly-owned subsidiary, 062018 Merger Subsidiary, has purchased approximately 12.5 million shares of Foundation Medicine's common stock at a price of $137 per share as part Roche's tender offer, which expired at the end of July 30. The shares purchased, for a total of $1.72 billion, represent about 77.3 percent of Foundation Medicine's common stock outstanding, excluding shares Roche already owns. Roche plans to promptly complete the acquisition of Foundation Medicine without a vote or meeting of Foundation's shareholders by merging 062018 Merger Subsidiary with Foundation Medicine. All shares not owned by Roche will then be converted into the right to receive the same price per share as was paid in the tender offer. Following the completion of the merger, Foundation Medicine will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roche and its shares will cease to trade on the Nasdaq.

The University of Arizona Cancer Center and its clinical partner Banner-University Medical Center Tucson said this week that they have joined Caris' Precision Oncology Alliance, whose goal is to develop standards of care and best practices for the use of tumor profiling. The alliance consists of 25 academic, hospital, and community-based cancer institutions, including seven National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. It will use Caris' comprehensive genomic profiling plus tumor profiling service, Caris Molecular Intelligence, to identify therapy options and clinical trial opportunities based on the molecular characteristics of patients. Caris Molecular Intelligence evaluates DNA, RNA, and proteins to create a molecular profile to guide individualized treatment decisions.

Immunovia said this week that the Karolinska Institutet is participating in PanFAM-1, a prospective study examining the early diagnosis of high-risk individuals with familial pancreatic cancer. The study is using Immunovia's IMMray PanCan-d test to analyze more than 1,000 individuals over three years at sites in Sweden, the US, and Europe. Other institutions participating in PanFAM-1 include Mount Sinai in New York, the University of Liverpool in the UK, Sahlgrenska University in Sweden, and others.

Molecular diagnostics developer Curetis announced this week that it has launched the ARES & CO (Antibiotic RESistance Solutions by COoperative R&D) pharma partnering program through its wholly-owned Austria-based subsidiary Ares Genetics. The program aims to create alliances with pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations in order to counteract antibiotic resistance by applying advanced data-driven solutions to antimicrobial drug development and life cycle management of existing antimicrobial drugs. Ares Genetics is currently discussing specific collaboration proposals with multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Meridian Bioscience this week declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $.125 per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2018.

Life science company the Eppendorf Group reported this week that its sales for the first half of 2018 rose more than 2 percent to €335.6 million ($389.0 million) from €327.9 million in the first half of 2017. When adjusted for exchange rates, Eppendorf reported a 9 percent year over year increase in sales in H1 2018.

Genetic Technologies announced this week that it has signed an agreement with Blockchain Global Limited, formalizing a deal the companies entered into in February to create a strategic alliance. GTG and BCG plan to collaborate on projects that use blockchain technology to advance biomedical research. They will use GTG's existing genetics testing platform, existing CLIA approved laboratory, and expertise in genomics, and BCG's expertise in blockchain technology. The agreement also calls for the issuance of 486 million shares to BCG in three tranches, subject to the achievement of certain milestones.

Arrayit said this week it has signed allergy testing contracts with 178 medical clinics in the US, which will use Arrayit’s allergy testing services to aid in the diagnosis of allergy and asthma in areas including anti-aging, back pain and sciatica, chiropractic care, dermatology, and others. The company recently created a nationwide sales network of 1,700 reps to sell and distribute its finger stick microarray tests to medical clinics and retail stores.

Orig3n and ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, an online-only insurance company in China, this week announced a new partnership to bring health tech solutions to Chinese consumers. ZhongAn will now supplement its insurance offerings with new healthcare products, including a suite of DNA tests to its customers and to the China market as a whole. The product suite will be backed by Orig3n's experience in genetic testing. The two companies have also agreed to establish a new laboratory in Shanghai.

Streck and Cromoion SRL, a distributor of human and veterinary diagnostic products in Argentina, this week signed a three-year distribution agreement for Streck's full portfolio of controls, cell stabilization, and molecular products. Streck's cell stabilization products include Cyto-Chex BCT, a blood collection tube for the preservation of whole blood specimens for immunophenotyping by flow cytometry; Cell-Free DNA BCT, a direct-draw blood collection tube which stabilizes nucleated blood cells and prevents the release of genomic DNA; Cell-Free RNA BCT, a blood collection tube with a patented preservative which stabilizes circulating RNA in plasma and prevents the release of non-target background RNA from blood cells during sample processing and storage; and Cell-Free DNA Urine Preserve, a liquid reagent that stabilizes cell-free DNA in urine.

Interpace Diagnostics reported this week that it has received a letter from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications committee notifying the company that it has regained compliance with the requirement of the exchange to maintain a minimum closing bid price of $1.00 per share. The letter noted that from July 16 to July 27, the closing bid price of Interpace's common stock has been at $1.00 per share or greater.   

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.