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In Brief This Week: HTG Molecular, Prenetics, DiaSorin, DermTech, NanoString Technologies, More

NEW YORK – HTG Molecular said this week that in connection with its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week, the Nasdaq has notified the company that its common stock will be delisted from the exchange. Trading of HTG's securities will be suspended at the opening of business on June 15. HTG said it does not intend to appeal the decision.

Prenetics this week reported $17.7 million in first quarter revenues, down 81 percent from $92.0 million in the year-ago quarter. The Hong Kong-based genomics and precision medicine company provided no explanation for the revenue shortfall. Its net loss in Q1 widened to $11.6 million, or $.07 per share, from a net loss of $33.5 million, or $1.06 per share, a year ago. The number of weighted average common shares used to calculate net loss was 157.8 million in Q1 2023 compared to 31.2 million in Q1 2022. Prenetics ended the quarter with $166.3 million in cash and cash equivalents and $19.9 million in short-term deposits.

The Italian National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (CONSOB) fined DiaSorin €100,000 and company CEO Carlo Rosa €20,000 this week on allegations the company violated requirements related to disclosure of inside information. It also disqualified Rosa from holding a leadership position in a listed company for two months on allegations of illegal communication of inside information. DiaSorin and Rosa have filed appeals.

The fine against the company relates to information disclosed through press releases in March and April of 2020 regarding the completion of studies that the company planned to use in support of CE marking and US Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization of a molecular test and an immunoassay for SARS-CoV-2. The company said that, according to CONSOB, those press releases disclosed inside information about upcoming products that could have substantial benefits to the company and that Rosa was accused of having a private conversation about the same information.

In a statement, DiaSorin officials said the firm believes the press releases were consistent with past practices and its behavior was in line with that of other diagnostic companies in Europe. The firm noted that Rosa has not been charged with illegal transactions related to shares of DiaSorin or any other unlawful activities involving company securities.

DermTech said this week that it has signed an agreement with a Blues plan payor in Hawaii, enhancing access to its melanoma test for this plan's nearly 800,000 members. The move brings DermTech's total covered lives in the US to approximately 126 million, including 68 million under Medicare and another 58 million served by commercial and governmental payors.

The DermTech Melanoma Test is designed to assess pigmented lesions, using RT-PCR to detect expression of the LINC and PRAME genes and, optionally, DNA sequencing to identify mutations in the TERT promoter region. Positive results for any of those biomarkers are correlated with a higher risk of melanoma. If none are detected, it indicates a greater than 99 percent probability that the mole being tested is not a melanoma.

NanoString Technologies, Acrobat Genomics, and the Illumina Accelerator program said this week that they will collaborate with Stanford Medicine on drug target discovery.

The collaborators seek new targets for gene editing-based therapies for interstitial lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Acrobat Genomics will receive a grant for NanoString's GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler technology access program. Financial and other terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

"Our goal is to discover signaling between cells within pathological foci and between the foci and surrounding lung tissue," Stanford professor Tushar Desai said in a statement. "By comparing different regions in IPF samples and non-IPF (normal) lung tissue, we can better understand the development of the disease and identify critical signaling interactions."

ChromaCode said this week that it has received a strategic investment of undisclosed size from Shimadzu Future Innovation Fund and its general partner Global Brain to further develop the firm’s High Definition PCR (HDPCR) platform technology for use in oncology. The goal is to deliver high-quality, fast, and inexpensive diagnostic tools for disease detection and monitoring.

New West Genetics and its collaborator at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology were recently awarded a three-year, $650,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to use genomics to improve industrial hemp, the company said this week. Under the award, the HudsonAlpha team will generate several high-quality hemp genomes, analyze their sex chromosomes, and work on increasing the proportion of female plants, resulting in higher yields of fiber, oil, and protein. It will work closely with New West Genetics, which has experience in plant breeding and creating hemp seeds for multiple markets.

Seer said this week that it has expanded its collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific with the establishment of its Seer Technology Access Center, which will showcase its new Proteograph XT Assay Kit in combination with Thermo Fisher’s Orbitrap Astral mass spectrometer. The Seer center will provide services to Seer users who do not have access to mass spectrometry. According to the company, workflows combining the Proteograph XT and the Orbitrap Astral can detect more than 6,000 proteins in human plasma samples.

T2 Biosystems said this week that it has submitted an application for Breakthrough Device Designation to the US Food and Drug Administration for its direct-from-blood Candida auris Panel. The panel runs on the firm's T2Dx instrument and simultaneously detects five Candida species. Breakthrough Device Designation could potentially accelerate the path to FDA clearance and commercialization, the firm said in a statement. T2 also recently announced plans to add C. auris detection for its FDA-cleared T2Candida Panel. 

Quantum-Si this week opened its new headquarters in Branford, Connecticut. The company said that the 29,420-square-foot facility will provide the resources needed for increased operational scale, development, and collaboration as it drives commercialization of its Platinum proteomics platform.

Abbott this week said it has declared a quarterly dividend of $.51 per share, payable on Aug. 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 14. 

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.