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In Brief This Week: WuXi NextCode, 10x Genomics, Synthego, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – WuXi NextCode said this week that it has brought Oxford Nanopore Technologies' sequencing technology into its Shanghai Laboratory, making it initially available to customers in China. The company's Shanghai laboratory, which is CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited, already has a number of sequencing instruments available, including platforms from Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Pacific Biosciences.

Oxford Nanopore's technology seemed like a good complement to these, owing to its small size and the comparatively low cost of the instrument, and the company had requests from its customers for offering the platform, WuXi NextCode CEO Hannes Smarason said. "It opens up different types of applications, and this is why we thought it was at the point to integrate it into this open-access platform for genomic data that we're creating," he added.  

Both the Oxford Nanopore MinIon and the higher-throughput PromethIon have been installed at WuXi NextCode's lab, he said, and the company is ready to accept customer samples.

Smarason said the Oxford Nanopore technology will be especially well suited for projects that require a rapid turnaround time and long reads that can more easily deal with repetitive and other difficult-to-sequence regions.

10x Genomics said this week that it has signed an agreement to provide certain of its single-cell RNA analysis systems at discounted prices to members of the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) initiative. The HCA aims to create an atlas of all human cell types, using single-cell genomics approaches to produce 3D maps of how different cells function together, and how changes in these networks can lead to disease. According to 10x Genomics, it will allow HCA collaborating members, including researchers involved in individual projects and within larger projects, to buy the Chromium Single Cell 3' and 5' RNA analysis solutions at a discount. /cell-biology-research/enabled-single-cell-genomics-international-team-launches-human-cell-atlas

Synthego announced this week that it has received an investment from Intel Capital to advance the development of its bioinformatics tools and technologies. This represents Intel Capital’s first financing in bioinformatics related to the CRISPR workflow, Synthego said. The company did not specify the amount of the financing.

Akonni Biosystems said this week that it has received a $50,000 challenge grant from the Bill and; Melinda Gates Foundation. Under the grant, the Gates Foundation will evaluate the suitability of Akonni’s TruDiagnosis molecular testing platform to meet the necessary requirements for adoption in resource-poor settings, such as accuracy, ease of use, and affordability. To do so, Akonni must demonstrate the effectiveness of its nucleic acid detection technology by accurately identifying different pathogens from a panel of blinded nucleic acid samples. The results will be evaluated by the CDC, using its validated benchmark assay.

Caris Life Sciences said this week that the John Wayne Cancer Institute has joined the company's Precision Oncology Alliance. JWCI becomes the 18th institution to join the alliance, which was established to study the appropriate use of tumor profiling and develop standards of care for molecular testing in oncology.

Macrogen said this week that its US clinical lab providing NGS services has received CAP accreditation. The lab was established in Rockville, Maryland in 2005 to provide genomic sequencing and analysis. The company launched CLIA-certified services in 2012.

Biocept this week launched its molecular pathology partnership initiative to enable community pathologists to review biomarkers found in liquid biopsy for patients diagnosed with cancer. Patient specimens will be sent to the firm's CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited lab.

Sygnis this week announced that it has completed the relocation of its subsidiary company, Innova Biosciences, into its existing facilities in Cambridge, in the UK. The relocation follows the recent acquisition of Innova by Sygnis. The R&D facility in Cambridge will predominantly focus on proteomics product and technology development, while genomics R&D will continue to be based at the company's facility in Madrid, Sygnis said.

Genedrive this week reported preliminary financial results for FY2017, noting a loss of £6.4 million ($8.4 million), up from a loss of £5.9 million in the prior year. Genedrive also reported £2.6 million in income from Genedrive development, principally driven by the US Department of Defense biohazard program, a moderate increase in service income to £3.2 million, and cash at year-end of £5.1 million.  

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.