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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Exact Sciences, Enterome, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Thermo Fisher Scientific announced this week that it completed the acquisition of Netherlands-based electron microscopy company Phenom-World. Thermo Fisher will integrate the business into its analytical instruments segment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Phenom-World provides desktop scanning electron microscopes and imaging and analysis packages for the research and industrial markets.

Investment bank William Blair said in a note to investors this week that Anthem Blue Cross of Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin published a Network eUpdate that included an in-network laboratory update for Exact Sciences. This update does not affect the positive coverage decision from Anthem Blue Cross for Exact's colon cancer test Cologuard, but is the result of a request from Exact to move from an in-network, contracted lab to an out-of-network provider with Anthem, the bank noted. The switch became effective Jan. 1. The decision was based on Anthem beginning to include the use of prior authorization requirements for Cologuard, the note added.

Enterome said this week that it has raised €32 million ($38.5 million) in a Series D financing. All current Enterome investors – Seventure, Health for Life Capital, LundbeckFonden Ventures, Omnes Capital and Nestlé Health Science – participated in the round, alongside new venture investor Principia SGR and strategic investor Bristol-Myers Squibb. The firm said it will use the proceeds primarily to for a Phase 2 study of its oral FimH blocker EB8018 for the treatment of Crohn's disease and a Phase 1b study of EO2315, a novel immuno-oncology candidate, in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. In addition, Enterome is planning to develop the next generation of its proprietary metagenomics drug discovery platform.

Indian firm MedGenome said this week that its next-generation sequencing-based clinical lab in Bangalore has received CAP accreditation for whole-genome and exome sequencing, preimplantation genetic screening, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, cell-free DNA testing for liquid biopsy, noninvasive prenatal testing, and high-resolution HLA typing.

The International Gene Synthesis Consortium (IGSC) announced this week that it has published an updated Harmonized Screening Protocol that enables providers of synthetic DNA products to meet requirements for evaluating genetic sequences of orders, vetting of customers, and handling of data. The first area of protocols details steps to evaluate the complete DNA sequence of synthetic gene orders against a Regulated Pathogen Database and multiple internationally coordinated sequence databases, the IGSC said. The second area of protocols contains measures and steps to review individuals and organizations placing the orders, and additional processes covered in the protocol establish best practices related to record keeping, order refusal and reporting, regulatory compliance, and consortium collaborative activities.

The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute of Christiana Care Health System said this week that it is joining the Strata Precision Oncology Network to offer next-generation tumor profiling at no cost to patients with advanced or rare cancers. Based on the results, eligible patients will be matched to the best available clinical trials or most innovative therapy. The project begins on Feb. 1.

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

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.