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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher Scientific, PerkinElmer, Danaher, and More

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific this week updated its financial guidance for the second quarter. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it now expects Q2 organic revenues to decline up to 10 percent year over year, compared to a previous expected decline of up to 15 percent. 

Last week, Thermo Fisher said that it has launched the SARS-CoV-2 Global Access Sequencing Program to support research consortia and industry groups. Under the program, the company will provide 50 units of its Ion Torrent Genexus sequencing system at a subsidized price for use in collaborative COVID-19 research. The company said that Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will be one of the institutions using the Genexus system as part of a new precision medicine research effort, the Western New York Immunogenomic COVID-19 Study.


PerkinElmer said this week that it reduced its workforce by 32 people during the first quarter of 2020 as part of a restructuring plan. The plan is comprised of a workforce reduction and the closure of excess facilities in order to realign the company’s resources to emphasize growth initiatives, PerkinElmer said in its Form 10Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Along with the reduction in headcount, PerkinElmer took a $4.2 million charge during Q1. As part of its workforce reduction, it recorded a $2.3 million charge in its discovery and analytical solutions segment and a $1.1 million charge in its diagnostics segment. The company took a $92,000 charge in the DAS segment related to the closure of excess facilities, and a $682,000 charge related to the closure of excess facilities.


Danaher this week closed its offerings of 9,509,203 shares of common stock and 1,717,500 shares of 5 percent Series B mandatory convertible preferred stock. The common stock share price was $163 per share, and the mandatory convertible preferred stock was offered at $1,000 per share. Shares of preferred stock sold included 167,500 extra shares offered to the underwriters. An additional 1,426,397 shares of common stock were purchased by underwriters, with that transaction expected to close May 14.

Net proceeds from the common stock offering were approximately $1.5 billion, and proceeds from the mandatory convertible preferred stock offering were approximately $1.67 billion. Proceeds from the additional common stock offering are expected to be $225.5 million. The firm said it expects to use the funds for general corporate purposes, including working capital and future acquisitions.


French IVD group Eurobio Scientific said this week that it has partnered with hospital center Hospices Civils de Lyon on an observational clinical study focused on creating a reference bank of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The study began on April 29 and is scheduled to be completed in July. The bank will facilitate the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines against COVID-19. The three main goals of the study are to generate the reference antibody bank, compare the antibodies of patients who present only a few symptoms with those of emergency patients, and compare the effectiveness for neutralizing the virus of patients’ natural antibodies and the reference antibodies. Eurobio will use its proprietary HuBBB technology to immortalize cells of the human immune system to produce antibodies of interest.


China-based cancer testing firm Burning Rock said this week it has expanded its agreement with Illumina to develop next-generation sequencing-based assays to assist with therapy selection. Under the terms of the agreement, Burning Rock will develop assays for Illumina's NextSeq 550Dx platform. Financial and other details of the agreement were not disclosed. The deal is similar to agreements Illumina has recently made with Roche and Qiagen to develop in vitro diagnostic assays, a Burning Rock spokesperson said in an email. The agreement builds on a partnership between the two firms to develop assays to run on Illumina's MiSeqDx instrument.


Invivoscribe said this week that it submitted its LeukoStrat CDx FLT3 Mutation Assay to regulatory authorities in China in April in support of the Astellas New Drug Application (NDA) submission of Xospata (gilteritinib), for treatment of adult patients who have relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia with a FLT3 mutation. Invivoscribe developed the LeukoStrat CDx FLT3 Mutation Assay in partnership with Astellas as a companion diagnostic for gilteritinib to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory FLT3-mutated AML. 

Invivoscribe also said it has expanded its wholly-owned company, Invivoscribe Diagnostic Technologies (Shanghai), adding laboratory testing services to support clinical trials and pharmaceutical partners.


Diagnostic firm Fluxergy said this week it will invest $30 million to scale production of its Fluxergy Analyzer diagnostic testing system in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The system, which uses PCR and microfluidics technology, can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in one hour, according to the company. The firm has begun conducting additional validation studies and said it plans to make the system available for research use only. Fluxergy has also filed an Emergency Use Authorization request with the US Food and Drug Administration to allow its system to be used in CLIA-certified high complexity labs. By the end of 2020, the company hopes to deliver one million tests per month.


OraSure Technologies said this week that its Diversigen and CoreBiome subsidiaries have combined their microbiome service offerings under the Diversigen name. All services previously offered under the CoreBiome brand will be available from Diversigen, including microbiome sequencing, bioinformatics, and analysis services. OraSure acquired Diversigen in November and had disclosed its consolidation intentions in February. It had also announced that lab operations would be merged in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area.


Centogene said this week that it will be offering COVID-19 testing for nursing homes in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany. The initiative, conducted in collaboration with the state government, has an estimated contract value of €2 million to €3 million ($2.2 million to $3.3 million).


Datametrex said this week that it has secured non-exclusive rights to sell COVID-19 test kits, with the approval of Health Canada, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Food & Drug Authority, and CE marking. The latest kit Datametrex will distribute is the 1copy COVID-19 qPCR Multi Kita nucleic test kit providing results in less than two hours to verify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp gene with a real-time qPCR kit via a nasopharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab. The kits are made by 1drop in South Korea and are immediately available for sale in Canada.


Cellink said this week that it will collaborate with AstraZeneca to provide advanced 3D-bioprinted liver organoids for drug discovery in cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases. The new collaboration will leverage Cellink’s extracellular matrix and laminin-based bioink products, which enable human cells to grow and function as they would in the human body, the company said.


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

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.