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In Brief This Week: Yourgene Health, Oxford Immunotec, Burning Rock Biotech, and More

NEW YORK – Yourgene Health said this week that its recently launched Yourgene Genomic Services (YGS) unit is collaborating with Cytox on a beta-testing study of Cytox's genetic risk test for Alzheimer's disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Yourgene will validate and verify the performance of the Cytox GenoScore-Lab process in whole blood and saliva samples to detect genotypes for calculating polygenic risk scores. The companies said they are exploring a potential partnership to provide GenoScore as a clinical testing service at Yourgene's Manchester, UK laboratory next year following the launch of the test by Cytox.

Separately, Yourgene said this week that Care Quality Commission, a UK regulatory authority, has registered its facilities at Citylabs 1.0 in Manchester as a second accredited location to perform diagnostics and screening procedures. This extension of Yourgene's existing CQC registration allows it to conduct NIPT testing at both its Manchester labs and confirms that its COVID-19 testing services meet CQC's standards.

Oxford Immunotec said this week that it has been selected to provide T-cell testing for SARS-CoV-2 to the UK Vaccines Taskforce, a UK government body formed to assess the suitability of vaccines for the UK population. The company said it was chosen for its T-Spot technology and its expertise in T-cell measurement. T-Spot is already used clinically to identify T cells made in response to a respiratory pathogen responsible for tuberculosis. The new project includes the measurement of the magnitude of the SARS-CoV-2 protein-specific T-cell response using the company’s T-Spot Discovery SARS-CoV-2 assay.

T cells are becoming increasingly recognized for their role in SARS-CoV-2 infection and immunity. Measuring the presence and size of a T-cell response can give adjunctive information to that available by serology. Consequently, the UK Vaccines Taskforce is including T cell analysis in COVID vaccine trials.

Burning Rock Biotech this week announced preliminary third quarter revenues, reporting that it expects to bring in between RMB 118 million ($17.4 million) and RMB 123 million for the quarterrepresenting a 16 percent year-over-year increase.

The World Health Organization announced this week that it will roll out rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 across Africa to significantly boost testing capacity across the continent. The two tests approved by WHO for emergency use are SD Biosensor’s rapid test and the Panbio COVID-19 antigen test manufactured by Abbott. According to the agency, most countries in Africa have been conducting PCR testing, which requires a laboratory and other supplies and is mostly limited to large cities.

The WHO recommends using antigen testing in suspected outbreaks where there is no access to PCR testing, to trace the extent of an outbreak where at least one case is detected through PCR, among high-risk groups, and in areas with widespread community transmission.

The ACT-Accelerator coalition formed by the WHO and other partners is making 120 million antigen tests available globally. Under the ACT-Accelerator umbrella, UNITAID, the Global Fund, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control will distribute the tests in 20 African countries. The WHO is also helping countries access the tests through supply portals from the United Nations.

Eurofins VRL said this week it has acquired Hawaii Cellular Therapy and Transplant Laboratory (HCTTL) for an undisclosed amount. The deal expands Eurofins VRL's footprint in the US — the company now has laboratories in 11 states. Further, the acquisition aligns with Eurofins Transplant Diagnostics' goal of expanding and strengthening the transplant network and maintaining market leadership in the pre- and post-transplantation organ testing spaces.

Caris Life Sciences said this week that Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University has joined the Caris Precision Oncology Alliancea collaborative network of cancer centers that work together to advance comprehensive cancer profiling and establish standards of care for molecular testing in oncology through predictive and prognostic markers. Winship is one of 32 US cancer centers selected as a lead academic participating site for the National Cancer Institute's National Clinical Trials Network. The Caris Precision Oncology Alliance comprises more than 40 academic, hospital, and community-based cancer institutions, including 17 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Members also have access to the Caris Pharmatech oncology trial network, which can help reduce the time it takes to identify and connect appropriate patients with novel targeted cancer therapies in clinical development.

PerkinElmer said this week that its board has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.07 per share, payable on Feb. 12, 2021 to shareholders of record at the end of the business day on Jan. 22, 2021.

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.