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In Brief This Week: Illumina, PerkinElmer, Ginkgo Bioworks, and More

NEW YORK – Illumina this week announced it has invested $5 million in a new genomics lab in Melbourne. The Illumina Innovation Collective will provide supported access to its latest DNA sequencing, arrays, and data analysis tools. The facility will support at least six Australian research projects at a time and will host Illumina for Startups Australia.

In its recent Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, PerkinElmer said that it reduced its headcount by 39 employees during the third quarter and took $786,000 in charges. The headcount reduction is the result of a restructuring plan implemented during Q3 to "realign resources to emphasize growth initiatives and integrate new acquisitions," the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said. Of the $786,000 in charges, $420,000 was associated with the discovery and analytical solutions unit and $366,000 was associated with the diagnostics unit.

Ginkgo Bioworks this week reported an almost sixfold year-over-year increase in revenues for the third quarter, its first as a publicly traded company. For the period ended Sept. 30, Ginkgo had $77.6 million in revenues, up from $13.3 million in the year-ago period. Foundry revenues rose to $34.7 million from $11.5 million a year ago, while biosecurity revenues — from COVID testing through the firm's lab network — increased to $42.9 million from $1.8 million last year. Ginkgo posted a net loss of $102.4 million, or $.08 per share, compared to a net loss of $26.1 million, or $.02 per share, in Q3 of 2020. R&D expenses rose to $53.0 million in Q3 from $36.1 million a year ago, while general and administrative expenses climbed to $29.0 million from $9.9 million. For full-year 2021, Ginkgo expects foundry revenues of at least $100 million and biosecurity revenues of at least $110 million. Ginkgo ended the quarter with $1.74 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

The firm also announced a partnership with mRNA Victoria, an agency of the Australian State of Victoria, to support vaccine development, biosecurity initiatives, and the application of Ginkgo's platform in the pharmaceutical, food and agriculture, and mining and bioremediation industries. As part of the deal, Ginkgo will open an office in Melbourne.

Bruker said this week that it has acquired Molecubes, a provider of benchtop preclinical nuclear molecular imaging (NMI) systems, for an undisclosed amount. Molecubes' modular benchtop Cubes systems will broaden Bruker's own NMI offering and help accelerate the adoption of preclinical NMI in academic medical centers and biopharmaceutical companies. Bruker already offers simultaneous PET/MR and PET/SPECT/CT instruments, as well as PMOD PET data analysis software. Molecubes, based in Ghent, Belgium, sells PET, SPECT, and CT Cubes systems and has a global installed base of more than 70 platforms. The firm, which generated about €5 million ($5.6 million) in revenues in fiscal year 2020, will become part of the Bruker BioSpin preclinical imaging division.

Also this week, Bruker said that its board of directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of $.04 per share of common stock, to be paid on Dec. 17 to stockholders of record as of Dec. 1. In addition, the board approved the firm's plan to increase its annual cash dividend from $.16 to $.20, payable quarterly, starting in March 2022 subject to quarterly board approval.

Northwell Health and Hamburg, Germany-based Indivumed said this week that they have successfully consented 1,000 patients in their ongoing cancer research biobanking collaboration. These patients have donated their biospecimens to be made available to researchers worldwide and are being used by Indivumed to define novel targets and subsequent therapies through use of its multiomics database.

Long Island-based Northwell said that its cancer institute diagnoses and cares for more than 19,000 new cancer patients annually. During a consented patient's normal treatment, the Northwell Health Biospecimen Repository research team applies the Indivumed standard operating procedure for collecting excess cancer tissue from various organ sites, including lung, breast, colorectal, and uterine. They then send the frozen tissue to Indivumed's US headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. These deidentified patient samples are then made available to scientists to further study at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Northwell Health's science arm, and others across the globe in an effort to advance cancer research, develop anti-tumor drugs, and enhance personalized medicine approaches.

Samples have been collected since 2017 at the start of a three-year agreement, and the partners initiated a new five-year partnership in 2020 to expand the cancer biobanking activities.

Tempus said this week that it will incorporate data from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center OncoKB database and National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology into its clinical reports. Tempus reports will reflect therapy choices based on molecular profile and corresponding NCCN Guidelines recommendations and information from OncoKB, making it easier for physicians to optimize treatment plans for their patients, the company said.

The OncoKB database features detailed information regarding specific alterations in 682 cancer genes, curated from various sources, including US Food and Drug Administration drug labels, medical professional group guidelines, medical and scientific literature, and clinical trial eligibility criteria. The NCCN Guidelines are a comprehensive, continuously updated set of guidelines detailing the sequential management decisions and interventions that currently apply to 97 percent of cancers affecting patients in the US.

Baptist Cancer Center this week announced a new initiative aimed at reducing lung cancer deaths in the mid-South by 25 percent by 2030. The multifaceted initiative, dubbed Mid-South Miracle, aims to increase biomarker testing and expand access to clinical trials, among other improvements related to treatment, prevention, and early detection. The program aims to ensure biomarker-directed treatment for each patient, the center said. Among financial supporters of the Mid-South Miracle are the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

CareDx said this week that it has enrolled the first patients in a large digital study to measure the impact of mobile health app AlloCare on organ transplant patient outcomes.

The TEAMMATE (Technology Enabled And Molecular Monitoring of the Allograft and Transplant rEcipient) study will enroll 4,000 patients from more than 100 transplant centers nationwide as part of a prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter study spanning kidney, heart, lung, and liver transplantation. Half of the participants will be enrolled in the study arm and half in the control arm. The study arm will have patients trained for regular use of the AlloCare mobile health app while the control arm will maintain the transplant center’s standard of care. The primary endpoint will be 90-day readmission rates, and the secondary endpoints will include medication adherence, blood pressure management, organ rejection at three, six, and 12 months, and patient satisfaction levels.

Todos Medical this week reported third quarter 2021 revenues of $1.0 million, down 22 percent year over year from $1.28 million. The company said the decrease was primarily driven by a shift away from equipment sales to reagent sales in its Corona Diagnostics laboratory products distribution business. The company recorded a Q3 net loss of $10.4 million, or $.02 per share, compared to a net loss of $18.0 million, or $.07 per share, in the third quarter of 2020.

Datar Cancer Genetics announced this week that its TriNetra blood test has received breakthrough device designation from the US Food and Drug Administration. The test detects circulating tumor cells to diagnose early-stage breast cancer and is indicated for asymptomatic women older than 40 with a physician’s prescription. The assay is CE marked and already available in Europe.

HTG Molecular Diagnostics said this week that Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has joined its Transcriptome Panel Early Adopter Program. Under a research collaboration, for which HTG will provide in-kind laboratory services, Icahn Mount Sinai will use HTG's transcriptome panel and EdgeSeq technology in three clinical bladder cancer studies.

Targeted genetic sequencing company Tesis Labs this week renamed itself Tesis Biosciences to reflect its increasing focus on clinical research and diagnostic initiatives. The firm uses a targeted sequencing platform and data collection to support multiple medical specialties and offers NGS to hospitals, health systems, value-based care organizations, research organizations, and others.

Twist Bioscience this week announced a partnership with Invetx on antibody therapeutics for serious diseases in dogs and cats. Under the terms of the agreement, they will create specific antibody libraries for veterinary species.

T2 Biosystems this week announced a distribution deal with an unnamed partner covering T2 Bio's tests and instruments in Taiwan. Under the terms of the agreement, T2 Bio will sell T2Dx instruments, and T2Bacteria, T2Candida, and T2Resistance panels through the distributor. The deal includes an initial purchase of three T2Dx instruments, the Lexington, Massachusetts-based firm said. Additional terms were not disclosed.

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week gave notice of its intention to redeem certain senior notes, representing an aggregate total principal amount of approximately $2.2 billion, on Dec. 3. The company will redeem $1.1 billion aggregate principal amount of 4.133 percent senior notes due 2025 and $1.1 billion aggregate principal amount of 4.497 percent senior notes due 2030.

The notes will be redeemed at a redemption price equal to the greater of 100 percent of the principal amount of the notes to be redeemed, and the sum of the present values of the remaining scheduled payments of the notes to be redeemed discounted to the redemption date on a semi-annual basis at a comparable treasury rate plus 50 basis points in the case of both the 2025 notes and the 2030 notes, plus, in each case, accrued and unpaid interest on the notes to be redeemed to, but excluding, the redemption date, the company said. Thermo Fisher intends to fund the redemption using cash on hand.

Agilent Technologies this week announced a quarterly dividend of $.21 per share, to be paid on Jan. 26, 2022, to all shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 4, 2022.

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.