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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Twist Bioscience, CareDx, and More

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific said last week that it has acquired Phitonex, a company based in Durham, North Carolina that offers a spectral dye platform for research and development applications in cell therapy, immuno-oncology, and immunology. The platform, called Phiton, maintains a larger number of fluorescent dyes and allows researchers to identify more proteins and cell populations in a single flow cytometry experiment. Financial and other terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Separately, Thermo Fisher said last week that it plans to redeem senior notes on Jan. 15 representing an aggregate total principal amount of approximately $2.6 billion, using cash on hand. The notes consist of €500 million aggregate principal amount of 2.15 percent senior notes due 2022, $1 billion aggregate principal amount of 3 percent senior notes due 2023, and $1 billion aggregate principal amount of 4.15 percent senior notes due 2024. Thermo Fisher will redeem the notes at a price equal or greater to 100 percent of the principal amount and the sum of the present value of the remaining scheduled payments of the notes, discounted to the redemption date, plus accrued and unpaid interest.

Twist Bioscience announced this week that it will supply the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a customized version of the firm's SARS-CoV-2 synthetic RNA controls for use in the CDC Influenza SARS-CoV-2 multiplex assay.

The firm partnered with the CDC to optimize the controls to be stable at room temperature for ease of shipping and storage, Twist said. The test detects influenzas A and B and SARS-CoV-2 simultaneously. The CDC intends to use the test itself, and also distribute it to additional public health laboratories for testing across the US.

CareDx said this week that its AlloSeq HCT next-generation sequencing-based chimerism monitoring product was selected as the primary solution for chimerism monitoring of stem cell transplant patients by the French National Blood Service, Établissement Français du Sang (EFS). CareDx won a two-year competitive tender to supply AlloSeq HCT in collaboration with Laboratoires Nephrotek in France.

The company was unable to disclose the value of the two-year tender, but a company spokesperson said that there are around 5,000 allogenic stem cell transplant patients a year in France who will be using AlloSeq HCT for regular chimerism testing.

CareDx also said this week that it has agreed to acquire TransChart, an Ohio-based electronic health records software provider. The transaction is expected to close in January 2021. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TransChart provides electronic medical record software to hospitals throughout the US to care for patients who have or may need an organ transplantCareDx saidThe acquisition will add to the transplant diagnostics firm's digital offerings, which include Ottr transplant electronic medical records software and XynQAPI transplant quality management solutions, and will expand CareDx’s EMR coverage to more than 90 centers in total.

Laboratory Corporation of America disclosed this week that it was awarded a contract for an undisclosed amount from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 samples to aid the agency in a large-scale, random, longitudinal genomic survey of the virusThe survey aims to provide important baseline information for national and state-level surveillance, help define changes in transmission, identify new variants of the virus, and improve the public health response to the virus. Labcorp will sequence the genomes of random de-identified samples that test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and will provide the CDC with completed sequences. This sequencing data will be combined with the results of similar efforts undertaken by national, state, academic, and private labs to help meet the CDC's target goal.

Illumina and Helix earlier this week announced that they had been awarded a similar contract from the CDC.

Hologic said this week it has completed the acquisition of Somatex Medical Technologies for $64 million. The Berlin-based firm develops and manufactures minimally invasive devices used in the field of tumor diagnostics, biopsy, and interventional specialties, and the deal supports Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Hologic's goal of providing a comprehensive breast healthcare portfolio. Somatex's products will enable Hologic to strengthen and expand its breast marker product line, which has consistently grown, the firm said, adding that the acquisition also enhances its sales presence in Europe by expanding its direct channel in Germany, as well as its network of regional and international distributors.

MilliporeSigma said this week it has acquired AmpTec, a Hamburg, Germany-based mRNA contract development and manufacturing organizationstrengthening its capabilities to develop and manufacture mRNA for its customers for use in vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. In addition to its mRNA technology, AmpTec produces customized long RNAs and DNAs for in vitro diagnostic applications. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

OpGen said this week that its Curetis subsidiary has entered into a distribution agreement with Annar Health Technology to commercialize the Curetis Unyvero A50 instrument and the full suite of Unyvero infectious disease diagnostic application cartridges in Colombia. The deal is initially for three years and can be extended in one-year increments. Bogota, Colombia-based Annar has committed to purchasing at least 10 Unyvero instruments and a large number of Unyvero cartridges, OpGen said. Annar will be responsible for registering the products in Colombia, which is expected to be done by the second half of 2021. It also has committed to invest in the market introduction of the Unyvero product line in the country. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The 221b Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Sherlock Biosciences to address the COVID-19 pandemic and diverse representation in STEM, this week announced an initiative with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in Nepal to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the country. The 221b Foundation will provide financial assistance and donations of equipment and Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kits to Nepal — the country has designated the test as an essential diagnostic for combating the pandemic. The total value of the donations is $200,000.

Testing will be supervised by MoHP with initial tests validated and run in the National Public Health Laboratory in Kathmandu. Initial efforts will support major cities and will then be ramped up to support country-wide testing over the next few months, the partners said.

Exact Sciences said this week that it has completed its $2.15 billion acquisition of Thrive Earlier Detection. The deal was originally announced in October.

Myriad Genetics said this week that the Myriad myChoice Diagnostic System, which is used to identify ovarian cancer patients who are likely to benefit from niraparib (GlaxoSmithKline's Zejula), is now reimbursed by the Japanese government. Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare approved the companion diagnostic for niraparib in September, and the test is now being reimbursed by the government. Myriad has a deal with SRL, a subsidiary of HU Group Holdings, to commercialize myChoice in Japan.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories and American Hospital Dubai this week announced a collaboration to provide laboratory testing in the Dubai region. The partners will work together to improve access to complex lab diagnostics. Testing will be performed either at American Hospital Dubai or a Mayo Clinic Laboratories facility. Financial and other terms were not disclosed.

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.