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In Brief This Week: The Jackson Laboratory, CareDx, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, and More

NEW YORK – The Jackson Laboratory said this week that it has acquired Charles River Laboratories Japan's Research Models & Services business. The wholly owned subsidiary, which has about 250 employees and three production sites in Atsugi, Hino, and Tsukuba, as well as an administrative office in Yokohama, will be called The Jackson Laboratory Japan.

CareDx this week filed a notice of its intent to appeal a recent decision from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware to invalidate three patents held by Stanford University and licensed exclusively to the company. The patents were at the center of an infringement lawsuit that Stanford and CareDx originally filed against Natera and Eurofins Viracor in March 2019. CareDx’s appeals brief is due later this year.

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund said this week that it is investing $5 million in Octave Bioscience to support the development of Octave's fully integrated care management platform for multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Octave said its platform integrates novel measurement tools with structured data analytical models to provide "a 360-degree view with a longitudinal perspective of disease progression." The platform specifically measures a patient's underlying biology with blood-based biomarkers to quantitatively and objectively assess inflammation and immune modulation; provides improved MRI readings and interpretation to reveal more insights at the CNS layer, including the brain and spine; and offers real-time tracking of symptoms via monitoring with mobile tools, sensors, and wearables to identify changes in patient status and alert care teams.

The Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation said this week that it has signed a collaboration agreement with the Qatar Foundation to improve medical diagnostics and treatments. Specifically, the organizations plan to use nano-needle and organ-on-a-chip technologies developed at TIBI. In addition, TIBI will offer postdoctoral opportunities for students graduating from Qatari universities. The Qatar Foundation consists of more than 50 entities and supports work in education, research, and community development. The Qatar Genome Programme operates under the umbrella of the foundation's Research, Development, and Innovation division.

Cue Health and the National Basketball Association this week announced that the diagnostic company will be the league's Official Home and Point of Care Test for the 2021-22 season. The firm said it will provide all 30 NBA teams and the league's referees with the integrated Cue molecular diagnostic platform, which consists of the portable Cue Health Monitoring System and its COVID-19 tests.

The US Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization for Cue's COVID-19 test in March for at-home and over-the-counter use without a physician's supervision or a prescription.

Clear Labs said this week that the National Poultry Improvement Plan has approved its next-generation sequencing-based Clear Safety Salmonella testing platform for interim use in the detection of Salmonella. NPIP is part of the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Hologic said this week that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Louisville, Colorado-based Bolder Surgical, a provider of advanced energy vessel sealing surgical devices, for approximately $160 million. Hologic said the acquisition will broaden its growing surgical portfolio by adding Bolder’s advanced vessel sealing and dissection tools that are used in laparoscopic procedures.

The announcement comes in the wake of three molecular-diagnostic company acquisitions by the Marlborough, Massachusetts-based firm earlier this year.

Fluidigm said this week that it has entered into a comarketing program to offer Visiopharm image-analysis software for faster and more streamlined analysis of data acquired through Fluidigm's Imaging Mass Cytometry (IMC) platforms. New software developed in collaboration with Visiopharm will enable native reading of data files from the Hyperion Imaging System, which uses IMC technology, imported into Visiopharm analysis tools. Fluidigm said it will launch the new software at its IMC Summit on Oct. 21.

The Bico Group said this week that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of QInstruments — a German developer, manufacturer, and supplier of sample preparation automation tools and technologies — for a preliminary purchase price of €61.3 million ($71.1 million).

The preliminary purchase price is subject to adjustment for net cash/debt and deviation from normalized working capital according to its balance sheet at the closing date, Bico said.

Interpace Biosciences announced this week that it and its subsidiaries have entered into a new $7.5 million revolving credit facility with Comerica Bank. The facility matures on Sept. 30, 2023, and allows for advances based on 80 percent of eligible accounts receivable, plus an applicable non-formula amount consisting of $2 million of additional availability at close, stepping down $250,000 per quarter beginning with the quarter ending June 30, 2022. The interest rate is equal to prime plus 0.5 percent, prime being the greater of the bank's stated prime rate or the sum of the daily adjusting LIBOR rate, plus 2.5 percent per annum, the company said.

BioSkryb Genomics said this week that it has moved into larger corporate headquarters and research space in Durham, North Carolina. The new, 19,500-square-foot facility will support the company's R&D, in-house testing services, product manufacturing and packaging, and quality control. BioSkryb, which is developing genomic amplification technologies, said it plans to double its workforce by the end of next year to 50 staff members.

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.