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In Brief This Week: Mainz Biomed, Centogene, DermTech, Freenome, Ginkgo Biotech, More

NEW YORK – German molecular diagnostics firm Mainz Biomed said this week that its full-year 2022 revenues shrank 8 percent year over year to $529,877 from $577,348. ColoAlert revenues more than doubled to $519,728 from $226,438 while COVID-19 and other revenues dropped to $10,149 from $350,910. Mainz had a net loss of $26.3 million, or $1.86 per share, for 2022 compared to a net loss of $11.5 million, or $1.62 per share, in 2021. The firm's R&D costs increased to $3.7 million in 2022 from $466,689 in 2021 while its SG&A costs grew to $23.0 million last year from $9.4 million a year ago. Mainz finished 2022 with $17.1 million in cash. 

Centogene said this week that it has further extended its partnership with Takeda, which was originally established in 2015 with Shire Pharmaceuticals (hence acquired by Takeda) and was extended last year. Under the one-year contract extension, the Rostock, Germany-based rare disease company will continue to provide fee-for-service genetic diagnostic testing for patients with lysosomal storage disorders such as Fabry disease, Gaucher disease, and Hunter syndrome. 

DermTech said this week that it signed a contract that has made its Melanoma Test available to about 3.8 million Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina members effective March 15, expanding the test’s availability to about 126 million people in the US. The La Jolla, California-based skin cancer diagnostics company said its test platform detects melanoma with a greater than 99 percent negative predictive value using an RT-PCR assay to identify expression of LINC00518 and PRAME genes and an add-on assay to identify the presence of TERT promoter mutations. 

Freenome said this week that the Institute for Population and Precision Health at the University of Chicago has joined as a study partner for its Vallania multi-cancer early detection study, which began enrollment in 2022. The company's multiomics platform combines tumor and non-tumor signals with machine learning to detect cancers using a standard blood draw and is currently being validated for detection of colorectal cancer. In the Vallania study, Freenome is now refining the approach across multiple tumor types, enrolling patients at more than 100 sites across the United States. 

Ginkgo Bioworks said this week that it is collaborating with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation on the development of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) for use in T-cell therapies. University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Krishanu Saha and Christian Captini will use Ginkgo's pooled CAR screening platform to design and characterize new intracellular signaling domains that prevent the exhaustion of T cells in a solid tumor context. The partners will validate new designs in high-throughput in vitro screens and in vivomouse models. Ginkgo and WARF also plan to collaborate on the development of a pooled in vivo screening platform to advance novel CAR discovery. 

Separately, the Ginkgo announced a memorandum of understanding with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to develop an implement new biosecurity capabilities. Under the terms of the deal, Ginkgo's Concentric biosecurity subsidiary will collaborate with the Institut National de la Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) to equip its institutions with tools, training, and secure data infrastructure.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami said this week that it has launched a clinic to assist pediatric patients with rare or undiagnosed diseases and their families. The Undiagnosed Diseases Clinic, occurring monthly, offers eligible patients genetic testing, including whole-genome sequencing, as well as metabolomic testing. Eligible patients usually show several phenotypes and do not have a diagnosis yet. If a diagnosis is determined, children are referred to specialists for future treatment opportunities.

Targeted sequencing technology company Molecular Loop said that it has tapped D-Mark Biosciences to be the exclusive distributor of LoopCap technology throughout Canada. According to Molecular Loop's website, the LoopCap technology is intended to combine the simplicity and throughput of amplicon-based workflows with the high data quality of hybrid capture libraries. The Woburn, Massachusetts-based company said that the technology eliminates many of the time-consuming and error-prone steps of traditional techniques. 

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.