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In Brief This Week: Twist Bioscience, Ambry Genetics, Infinity BiologiX, and More

NEW YORK – Twist Bioscience said this week that it has exercised an option to purchase all rights to a G-coupled protein receptor-targeting antibody library and its proprietary Twist Antibody Optimization software, which were both originally developed as part of a license and collaboration agreement with Distributed Bio in 2016. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Also this week, Twist expanded the lease for its manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, securing an additional 100,000 square-foot facility within the same building that it currently leases. The firm said it may use the space to eventually build its DNA data storage product line. Its financial commitment begins in 2022.


Last week, Judge Cormac Carney of the US District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a class action suit against Ambry Genetics related to a January 2020 data breach.

"Plaintiffs fail to plausibly allege that their injuries were caused by defendants' actions," Carney wrote. "The problem is that the harm plaintiffs allege they suffered is not fairly traceable — at least not plausibly so — to the conduct they complain of. For example, plaintiffs allege that unauthorized parties obtained their passwords, but there is no allegation that any of plaintiffs' passwords were stolen in the data breach." Carney left open the possibility for the plaintiffs to improve their arguments and gave them 14 days to file a new complaint.

Ambry alerted customers to a breach in April 2020, revealing that it had exposed customers' names, medical information, information related to customers' use of Ambry’s services, and, in some instances, social security numbers. The plaintiffs — 24 individuals from 15 states — then sued, alleging negligence, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and violation of state privacy and business laws, among other claims.


Infinity BiologiX said this week that it has won a contract for an undisclosed amount from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide genomic sequencing and new variant identification for SARS-CoV-2 samples. The company will sequence viral genomes of random, de-identified US samples that test positive for the virus during diagnostic testing and will provide the CDC with viral sequence data for its surveillance efforts.


Seegene said this week that its Italian subsidiary, Arrow Diagnostics, will supply approximately 7.15 million COVID-19 diagnostic tests and extraction reagents to the Extraordinary Commissioner for COVID-19 Emergency under the Italian Ministry of Defense. The procurement is worth more than €89.3 million ($107 million), Seegene said. The COVID-19 tests will be distributed to 17 regions including Lombardy, Tuscany, Veneto, and Liguria. Seegene's COVID-19 Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Assay is a multiplex real-time PCR assay that can detect five target genes, including four viral genes (E, RdRP, N, and S) and an exogenous control, in a single reaction. The test received CE IVD marking in June 2020.


Angle said this week that it has secured its first large-scale pharma services contract with an undisclosed pharma partner. The customer will use Angle's Parsortix system to perform longitudinal monitoring of patients in three separate global clinical trials in prostate cancer and other locally advanced and metastatic solid tumors.

Angle said the contract is expected to be worth up to $1.2 million over about 18 months and relates to a large Phase III prostate cancer study and two smaller Phase I studies. The services cover the capture, harvest, and analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and CTC clusters.


Investment firm Vitruvian Partners said this week that it has acquired a majority ownership stake in contract research organization KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services, and that both management and current majority shareholders KVCI are making a significant reinvestment in the company. Other financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

KCAS provides GLP-compliant bioanalytical and biomarker development testing services for the biotech, pharmaceutical, and animal health industries. The company offers a range of bioanalytical services from early discovery support through registration, providing expertise in biological and synthetic drug candidates. Vitruvian's investment will allow KCAS to continue growing its operations in Kansas City, continue rapidly hiring scientific staff, and accelerate internationalization including through acquisitions.


Exact Sciences said this week that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Ashion Analytics. The acquisition of Ashion brings Exact a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab, deep sequencing capabilities, and a comprehensive genomic cancer test called GEM ExTra to aid Exact in serving more patients across the cancer continuum, including therapy selection and minimal residual disease testing, the company said.

Exact also said that it is expanding its multi-year collaboration with the Translational Genomics Research Institute to further benefit from TGen and City of Hope's expertise in developing better advanced cancer diagnostics and establishing the clinical evidence necessary to support their adoption.


Agilent said this week that it has completed its acquisition of Resolution Biosciences. Agilent believes the firm’s liquid biopsy-based technology will strengthen its offerings to biopharma and clinical diagnostic customers, as well as boost its diagnostic and genomics business.


Siemens Healthineers this week said that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Palo Alto, California-based Varian Medical Systems. Siemens Healthineers said that with Varian it will leverage artificial intelligence-assisted analytics to advance the development and delivery of data-driven precision care and redefine cancer diagnosis, care delivery, and post-treatment survivorship.


BC Platforms this week said that the Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank is joining the company's BCRquest.com global network of biobanks, which supplies research cohorts for pharmaceutical research and development. The tissue bank, housed at the University of Sydney Westmead Institute for Medical Research, hopes to improve outcomes for patients with breast cancer through its participation in BCRquest.


Tiziana Life Sciences announced this week that its former subsidiary, Accustem Sciences, intends to file a listing application with the Nasdaq Stock Market shortly after completion of the distribution of shares in Accustem to Tiziana Life Sciences shareholders. Accustem's board of directors has resolved that the Nasdaq listing venue is more appropriate to the nature of Accustem's business.


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

Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be as transmitted as easily as the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Gene Therapy for SCID 'Encouraging'

The Associated Press reports that a gene therapy appears to be effective in treating severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

To Watch the Variants

Scientists told US lawmakers that SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be better monitored, the New York Times reports.

Nature Papers Present Nautilus Genome, Tool to Analyze Single-Cell Data, More

In Nature this week: nautilus genome gives peek into its evolution, computational tool to analyze single-cell ATAC-seq data, and more.