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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher, NanoString, Caris Life Sciences, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that it has agreed to acquire Brammer Bio, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for viral vectors used in gene and cell therapies, for approximately $1.7 billion in cash. Brammer Bio, which has about 600 employees at locations in Massachusetts and Florida, anticipates about $250 million in revenues for 2019. Thermo Fisher expects Brammer Bio, which will become part of its pharma services business within its laboratory products and services segment, to be accretive to its adjusted earnings per share by $.10 in the first full year of ownership. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.


NanoString Technologies said this week that it closed its previously announced underwritten public offering of 5.2 million shares of its common stock at $23 per share. The firm sold nearly 3.2 million shares of common stock, and the underwriters exercised their option in full to purchase an additional 675,000 shares of common stock. NanoString stockholder Clarus Lifesciences II also sold 2 million shares of common stock.  JP Morgan, UBS Investment Bank, and Cowen acted as joint book-running managers for the offering and Baird acted as lead manager.

NanoString's net proceeds were approximately $68.3 million, and the company said it intends to use the money for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Separately, the firm said this week that a sales agreement between itself and investment bank Cowen has been mutually terminated. The agreement, which originated in January 2018, provided that NanoString could sell its common stock for up to $40 million in aggregate sales proceeds, through an at-the-market equity offering program, with Cowen as sales agent. No shares were sold under the now-terminated agreement.


Caris Life Sciences announced this week that Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has become the 26th cancer center to join the Precision Oncology Alliance, a collaborative network of cancer centers that is developing standards of care and best practices for the application of tumor molecular profiling. Through the Precision Oncology Alliance, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center will collect molecular data and longitudinally track outcomes data for patients who have their tumors profiled with the Caris Molecular Intelligence platform. In addition, researchers from the center will be able to contribute to and publish data, and participate in clinical trials collaborations to validate Next Generation Profiling (NGP), Caris' proprietary machine learning algorithms to improve patient diagnosis and treatment selection.


OpGen this week closed a previously announced underwritten public offering of 9 million shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $.60 per share. All of the shares were sold by OpGen. The aggregate gross proceeds to the company were approximately $5.4 million. OpGen said it plans to use the proceeds of the offering to support the anticipated US Food and Drug Administration 510(k) submission of its Acuitas AMR Gene Panel test.


Genfit said that it has closed its previously announced public offering of about 7.6 million ordinary shares and raised gross proceeds of about $155.4 million. The offering consisted of about 7.1 million ordinary shares in the form of American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share, at a public price of $20.32 per ADS. A concurrent private placement of 500,000 ordinary shares in Europe and countries outside the US was also made at €18 per ordinary share. The number of shares issued in the ADS offering included an additional 997,500 ADSs issued to the offering's underwriters who exercised their option to purchase additional shares.


Oxford Immunotec this week announced a production initiative to bring the benefits of the T-Spot.TB test to the Russian Federation. The firm said that it has been working with a local distribution partner, PharmLine, and has seen expanding uptake of the test since the T-Spot.TB test received approval in the Russian Federation in 2013. In collaboration with PharmLine, Oxford Immunotec will now also work with Generium Joint Stock, which will manufacture the test at its factory in the Vladimir region of the Russian Federation. This is expected to reduce the cost of the test for patients and expand access to it in the Russian Federation, Oxford Immunotec said. Further, Generium will work with PharmLine on marketing and distribution of the test and apply for national TB control tenders.


American Esoteric Laboratories said this week that it has been designated a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Preferred Plus Network laboratory for Alabama. AEL said it is one of three laboratory service providers that have been designated as a perferred lab with BCBSAL, resulting in coverage to more than 1.5 million people in that state. AEL, a division of Sonic Healthcare, provides laboratory services in the Mid-South region of the US as well as Alabama, including a network of local 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 GenomeWeb.

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.