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In Brief This Week: BGI Genomics, Emirati Genome Program, ERS Genomics, Parhelia Biosciences, More

NEW YORK – BGI Genomics said this week that an IVD test kit factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that is operated by its subsidiary, BGI Health Ethiopia, is preparing to manufacture test kits for seven diseases with high prevalence in Ethiopia and Africa at a new location. The original factory has obtained ISO 13485 certification and is awaiting a good manufacturing practices inspection for the new location. According to BGI Genomics, it produced RT-PCR and rapid antigen test kits during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also received certification from the Ethiopian Food and Drug Authority for hepatitis C virus, pregnancy urine, syphilis, and typhoid rapid diagnostic tests.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Health and Abu Dhabi Health Data Services (ADHDS) this week announced a partnership through which physicians will be able to access pharmacogenomic test reports for consenting participants enrolled in the Emirati Genome Program (EGP). The PGx reports will be accessible through Malaffi, the health information exchange platform operated by ADHDS. The EGP is a population genomic initiative aimed at increasing precision medicine access in Abu Dhabi. The national project is a key part of Abu Dhabi's National Genome Strategy, within which the government aims to improve healthcare by building "a comprehensive and sustainable genomic ecosystem" that leverages whole-genome sequencing and artificial intelligence technologies.

ERS Genomics said this week that it has licensed its foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio to Syngene International, a contract research, development, and manufacturing organization in India. ERS provides access to IP, including more than 100 patents worldwide, held by Nobel laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier through nonexclusive licenses.

BC Platforms said this week that it has forged a strategic partnership with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation in Japan designed to "accelerate data-driven medicine" by introducing a national medical data distribution platform to "integrate, curate, and harmonize" Japanese healthcare data. The collaboration brings together four Tokyo-based organizations: NTT; NTT Life Sciences Corporation; New Medical Real World Data Research Organization (PRiME-R); and Bio-Xcelerator. The partners aim to create a system to better use data through collaboration with government agencies and companies by implementing services from NTT Life Sciences and PRiME-R built on BC Platforms' technology. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, BC Platforms primarily offers a genomic data discovery and analytics platform and has developed a Global Data Partner Network that facilitates access to real-world data.

Parhelia Biosciences, a developer of sample prep products for tissue staining and spatial biology analysis, said this week that it has completed a Series A financing round for an undisclosed amount. Rabbit Run Partners, Thielsen Capital, and industry angels participated in the fundraising, which will accelerate the company's growth by allowing it to expand its menu of spatial biology products, grow its support and commercial efforts, and pursue strategic collaborations, the company said.

Seren and SerenOx Africa said last week that they opened a hematology clinic and laboratory in Tanzania to offer low-cost diagnostic testing to sub-Saharan Africa. The organizations said underdiagnosed diseases in the region, including sickle cell disease, can be cured or controlled with affordable therapies when patients have access to diagnostic testing. UK-based Seren is a University of Oxford spinout that applies technologies developed at the university to delivering rapid diagnosis of inherited blood disorders, infectious diseases, and early-stage cancers. Seren, Oxford, and the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research support SerenOx Africa, a Tanzania-based organization dedicated to advancing diagnostics in Africa through access to molecular testing.

Life sciences firm Fapon and telehealth provider Halodoc said last week that they will form a joint venture that will combine Fapon's in vitro diagnostics technologies with Halodoc's sales channels and local services in Indonesia. Under the agreement, Fapon will provide raw materials, reagent solutions, and open-instrument platforms for use in product research and development, and Halodoc will leverage existing connections through sales channels, academia, and industry to hasten market expansion and business growth.

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.