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In Brief This Week: Guardant Health, Veracyte, GNS Healthcare, and More

NEW YORK – Guardant Health and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said this week that they have partnered to establish an in-house liquid biopsy testing service for cancer diagnostics at the Royal Marsden that will use Guardant's sequencing test technology. The service is expected to become operational at the end of 2022 and will be available for clinical care and clinical research.

Veracyte this week said its Immunoscore Colon Cancer Test has been included in the "Pan-Asian adapted European Society for Medical Oncology Clinical Practice Guidelines." The Immunoscore test, which Veracyte acquired earlier this year through its acquisition of HalioDx, measures patients' immune response at the site of colon tumors and informs the use of chemotherapy. ESMO adapted the 2020 version of its "Clinical Practice Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment, and Follow-up of Colon Cancer" for patients in Asian countries based on the consensus opinions of 14 experts from cancer societies in Japan, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. The guidelines state that tumor recurrence risk estimates and predictions about chemo benefit are both important considerations when deciding on therapy and recommend taking into account ethnic differences associated with the treatment of Asian patients with localized colon cancer. In this context, the company said, Immunoscore has been recommended for its ability to refine the prognosis of stage II and stage III colon cancer patients, in conjunction with standard cancer staging.

GNS Healthcare and Scipher Medicine have partnered to develop and launch Gemini — The in silico Patient, for rheumatoid arthritis. This patient model uses Scipher's proprietary clinic-genomic patient data in RA, generated from PrismRA, the company's liquid signature blood test that predicts non-response to TNFi therapies in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The model links drug treatment, patient characteristics, and genetic and molecular mechanisms and pathways driving clinical outcomes, enabling the simulation of disease progression and drug response for patients. Through these simulations, Gemini discovers novel drivers of progression and treatment response to enhance clinical trial design and comparative effectiveness evidence generation for the treatment of RA, the companies said.

Centogene said this week that it has expanded its existing partnership with Agios Pharmaceuticals. Under the new, three-year fee-for-service agreement, Centogene will provide genetic testing and support for three global clinical trials Agios is conducting in thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Specifically, Centogene will test patients for causative mutations, including in the HBA1, HBA2, and HBB genes. Previously, the company had provided support for Agios' pyruvate kinase deficiency clinical program.

Qlucore, a provider of bioinformatics software for research and precision and companion diagnostics, has received approval for listing of its shares on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market. The first trading day is Nov. 5 under the ticker QCORE. As previously disclosed, the company concluded a fully subscribed rights issue to public and professional investors in Sweden and internationally yielding a total of approximately €9.1 million (about $10.5 million). Stockholm Corporate Finance acted as financial adviser and Advokatfirman Lindahl acted as legal advisers to Qlucore. Hagberg & Aneborn Fondkommission was the issuing agent.

Genomics plc said this week that it exercised its option to extend an existing R&D partnership with Vertex Pharmaceuticals for an additional two years. Since 2018, the companies have applied human genetics and machine learning to identify new targets for precision pharmaceuticals. Any novel targets identified through the collaboration will result in Vertex making additional milestone and royalty payments to UK-based Genomics plc.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, which provides cancer care throughout southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, this week announced a partnership with OneOncology aimed at enhancing patients' access to clinical trials, lowering the cost of infusion drugs and medical supplies, migrating to a new electronic medical records platform, and adopting new treatments and services based on advancing research, including precision cancer care. The collaboration with OneOncology, an organization that helps improve community oncology care at lower costs compared to the hospital setting, will officially launch next year. As an example of the benefit to partnering with OneOncology, Mary Bird Perkins said that OneOncology's research into biomarkers and next-generation sequencing testing patterns can help Mary Bird Perkins improve its patients' ability to get tested and receive biomarker-matched personalized therapies. For the remainder of the year, the partners will implement clinical programs and identify opportunities for further collaboration.

23andMe said this week that it has completed its acquisition of Lemonaid Health, a provider of online medical care and pharmacy services. The consumer genomics and research firm announced the deal to acquire Lemonaid last month, for $400 million in cash and stock.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week that its board of directors has authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $.26 per common share, payable on Jan. 14, 2022, to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15, 2021.

GenScript Biotech said this week that is has opened a facility of more than 50,000 square feet near its US headquarters in Piscataway, New Jersey, for automated gene synthesis and plasmid preparation services. The company was founded in New Jersey in 2002 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2015.

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.