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In Brief This Week: Becton Dickinson, DNA Script, Co-Diagnostics, Biocept, More

NEW YORK – Becton Dickinson said this week that its board has approved the spinoff of its diabetes care business into a separate company called Embecta. BD also declared a pro rata distribution of all outstanding shares of Embecta's common shares to BD shareholders. The spinoff will occur on April 1 and will allow BD to focus on its core innovation priorities, the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based company said. After the spinoff, Embecta will be an independent publicly traded firm, and BD will have no ownership interest in it. 

DNA Script said this week that it has signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear deal with Wellcome Leap to speed up the development of RNA products, including mRNA vaccines and RNA therapies. As part of Wellcome Leap's RNA Response + Readiness (R3) program, which is partly funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, DNA Script plans to develop an automated, deployable system to rapidly synthesize DNA templates for RNA production. The specific R3 project, called Digital Sequence to RNA Unique Production Technologies, aims to develop an automated platform to synthesize genetic material quickly for therapeutic development. 

Co-Diagnostics and its Indian joint venture CoSara Diagnostics said this week that India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has cleared the Saraq Hepatitis B Viral Load Kit for manufacturing and sale as an in vitro diagnostic. CoSara's test leverages Co-Diagnostics' CoPrimer technology and is designed to help assess response to antiviral treatments in patients diagnosed with HBV. 

Biocept disclosed in a regulatory document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week that the company and its accounting firm have determined that its unaudited interim financial statements for the third quarter "can no longer be relied upon." Biocept found that it did not accrue for certain expenses incurred during Q3 totaling about $1 million to $1.2 million. The expenses are mostly for contract labor charges related to the firm's community college COVID-19 testing business. Biocept said that it plans to restate the relevant financial statements soon in its amended Form 10-Q. 

Cergentis said this week that it has received ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation for its genetic quality control services and quality management system. The Dutch company provides genomic analysis services to biopharmaceutical companies and research institutes. 

Crop science company Phylos said this week that it has raised $7.6 million in a growth funding round led by Merida Capital, with participation from Accomplice and Entourage Effect Capital. The Portland, Oregon-based firm plans to use the money in part to expand its sales and marketing efforts for its cannabis and hemp genetics offerings. 

Sophia Genetics said this week that is has extended its 2016 partnership with the Institut Paoli Calmettes, one of 18 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in France, to further support the implementation, automation, and accreditation of cancer tests, including for lung, breast, ovarian, and hematological cancers. 

KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services has acquired FlowMetric, a provider of flow cytometry and cellular assay R&D services to the biotech, pharmaceutical, and cell/gene therapy industries. Kansas City, Kansas-based KCAS is a contract research organization that provides comprehensive GLP-compliant bioanalytical and biomarker development testing services. It was itself acquired by investment firm Vitruvian Partners in April 2021. FlowMetric has offices in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and Milan, Italy. Financial terms of the acquisition 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.