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In Brief This Week: Standard BioTools, Guardant Health, Portal Biotechnologies, Inocras, More

NEW YORK – Standard BioTools said this week that it has exchanged all outstanding shares of its Series B convertible preferred stock for common stock, pursuant to an agreement with stockholders affiliated with Viking Global Investors and Casdin Capital. The firm issued 93 million shares of common stock at an exchange price of $2.75 per share, compared to the Series B Preferred's stated $3.40 per share conversion price, resulting in approximately 17.8 million additional shares of common stock.

The issuance represents less than 5 percent dilution and eliminated all Series B Preferred senior rights, including the elimination of the approximately $250 million liquidation preference, the put right in the event of a change in control, and Series B Preferred governance rights. "By streamlining our capital structure, we believe this transaction will make us more attractive to new long-term investors and potential M&A partners," Chairman Thomas Carey said in a statement.

Guardant Health said this week that it is expanding the scope of a previously announced collaboration with UK-based cancer care and research organization The Royal Marsden to provide circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing to lung cancer patients. The Marsden360 liquid biopsy service, which is part of the North Thames Genomic Medicine Service, is available for private and clinical trial patients being treated at The Royal Marsden, as well as patients with suspected late-stage lung cancer who are eligible for testing as part of the National Health Service England study in ctDNA testing in non-small cell lung cancer. Guardant said that the service has already provided testing to more than 2,000 patients and will test an additional 10,000 patients over the next year with the goal of providing more targeted treatments.

Portal Biotechnologies said this week that it has raised $5 million in a pre-seed financing round that was led by Pear VC, with participation from Conscience VC and 10x Capital. The new funding will support the development and commercialization of the firm's cell engineering platform technology for research and clinical applications. Portal, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on a mechanical delivery technology to introduce different types of cargo — such as siRNA, mRNA, polypeptides, antibodies, and CRISPR RNP complexes — into various cell types. It is based on transient perturbation of a cell's membrane as the cell travels through microscopic holes in a thin silicon surface. The firm has ongoing partnerships with several large pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as academic institutions. It is a member of the Bayer Co.Lab, a cell and gene therapy accelerator co-located with the Bayer Research and Innovation Center, and is affiliated with the Roche Accelerator.

Whole-genome sequencing and analytics services company Genome Insight said this week that it has changed its name to Inocras. Following its rebranding, the South Korean company, which focuses on cancer and rare diseases, plans to launch two diagnostic products, CancerVision and RareVision, globally next month. These will be followed by additional new products later this year. Last November, the company announced the closing of a $23 million Series B-2 financing round.

Centogene said this week that it has extended its partnership with Takeda to provide genetic testing for patients around the world with lysosomal storage disorders including Fabry disease, Gaucher disease, and Hunter syndrome. The original agreement was signed in 2015 with Shire Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Takeda in 2019.

Nostos Genomics said this week that it obtained ISO 13485:2016 certification from BSI for the company’s AION clinical decision support software. The certification specifies requirements for a quality management system specifically tailored to the medical device industry and outlines criteria for manufacturers to establish and maintain processes that consistently meet requirements for the design, development, production, and servicing of medical devices.

Exagen this week announced its Q4 and full-year 2023 financial results, reporting that Q4 revenues were $13.8 million, up 8 percent from $12.8 million in Q4 2022. The firm saw a net loss of $5.6 million, or $.31 per share, in Q4 2023 compared to a net loss of $14.4 million, or $.83 per share, in the prior-year quarter. Full-year 2023 revenues were $52.5 million, rising 15 percent from $45.6 million in 2022. The company saw a net loss of $23.7 million, or $1.34 per share, in 2023 compared to a net loss of $47.4 million, or $2.77 per share, in 2022. Exagen ended the year with $36.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

BostonGene said this week that it has become a qualified contract research organization (CRO) of Akoya Biosciences. As a qualified CRO of Akoya, BostonGene will perform multiplex immunofluorescence and analysis using Akoya's PhenoCycler-Fusion and PhenoImager HT whole slide imaging platforms, providing end-to-end imaging solutions for life sciences researchers.

VolitionRx signed a supply agreement allowing Fujifilm Vet Systems to sell and perform cancer screening services for dogs using Volition’s Nu.Q Vet Cancer Test throughout its network of central reference laboratories in Japan. The agreement, announced this week, marks Volition’s entry into the Japanese market.

Quantum-Si said in its recent 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the contract manufacturer it had engaged to produce its Platinum and Carbon instruments has sued it following its decision to transition to a different manufacturer. The company said this contract manufacturer initially filed a complaint in Texas in October 2023 alleging breach of contract and making claims for economic damage as well as attorney costs. In January 2024, the manufacturer withdrew the suit and refiled it in Minnesota alleging similar claims. Quantum-Si said it cannot yet determine the financial exposure associated with the suit, but that it plans to "vigorously defend against all claims asserted in the complaint.

Bruker said in its recent 10-K filing that it has acquired a minority equity interest in a privately held biotechnology for $10 million. The company is based in California and uses proteomics for the early detection of diseases.

Quanterix said in its recent 10-K filing that following a review of its disclosure controls and procedures as of December 31, 2023, the company's CEO and CFO determined that these controls and procedures were not effective at a reasonable assurance level. The company identified four material weaknesses, which were associated with: "the accounting for inventory, including excess and obsolescence reserves," "the accounting for salaries and commissions expense," " the financial statement close process, including financial reporting, share-based compensation and non-recurring transactions such as impairment of assets and accounting for leases," and "the accounting for property and equipment."

The company said it has not identified any material misstatements resulting from these weaknesses. It said that management, with oversight from the audit committee of the board of directors, is working to remediate the deficiencies.

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.