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In Brief This Week: Biocept, Thermo Fisher, Biodesix, More

NEW YORK – Biocept this week reported that its third quarter revenues shrunk more than threefold year over year to $5.6 million from $17.5 million in Q3 2021, primarily due to a drop in revenues from RT-PCR COVID-19 testing. Excluding this testing revenue, Biocept's Q3 revenues fell 10 percent to about $900,000 from $1 million a year ago. The San Diego-based company said that Q3 orders for its CNSide assay for detecting tumor cells in cerebrospinal fluid in patients with suspected CNS metastases increased 176 percent year over year and 8 percent sequentially. Biocept's Q3 net loss swelled to $5.5 million, or $.33 per share, from $625,000, or $.04 per share, a year ago. The company finished the quarter with $18.0 million in cash. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week issued €1.25 billion ($1.29 billion) worth of senior notes in a public offering. According to the company, €500 million of the notes are due in 2026 with an interest rate of 3.20 percent, and €750 million are due in 2034 with an interest rate of 3.65 percent. Thermo Fisher said interest for both notes will be paid annually. 

Biodesix said this week that it has raised $40.3 million in gross proceeds from its previously announced public offering of 35,075,000 shares of its common stock at $1.15 per share. This includes the exercise in full by the underwriter to purchase up to an additional 4,575,000 shares at $1.15 per share. William Blair was the sole bookrunning manager for the offering. 

Castle Biosciences said this week that the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has accredited its clinical laboratory facility in Pittsburgh following the necessary on-site inspection. Castle took on the Pittsburgh lab through its acquisition of Cernostics in December 2021. 

BGI Group said this week that it has signed three memorandums of understanding  with the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the University of Indonesia, and the Del Institute of Technology  in the lead-up to the G20 Summit in Bali. The memorandums of understanding cover genomics development initiatives, the construction of related laboratories, and joint research and personnel training, according to BGI. 

Malaysian Genomics Resource Center this week reported a 59 percent year-over-year decrease in revenues for its fiscal first quarter 2023. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the firm recorded RM 3.81 million ($830,000) in revenues, down from RM 9.32 million a year ago. Earnings per share for Q1 were SEN .68 compared to SEN .20 the year before. The Petaling Jaya, Malaysia-based company said it has been refocusing its biopharmaceutical business on immunotherapy and cell therapies and pushing growth of its genetic screening business. It also seeks to acquire assets or invest in firms that will support the expansion of the genetic screening business. The firm said it is equipped with a high-throughput sequencing lab, a microarray facility, and a cGMP cell processing lab for cell therapies, including immunotherapies for various cancer types. 

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

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.