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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher, Leica Biosystems, SomaLogic, Genetron, NanoString, More

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific this week announced that its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of $4 billion of shares of its common stock in the open market or in negotiated transactions. The authorization has no expiration date. In addition, the company's board of directors authorized a quarterly cash dividend of $.30 per common share, payable on Jan. 16, 2023, to shareholders of record as of Dec. 15, 2022.


Danaher subsidiary Leica Biosystems announced this week that it has acquired multiplexed tissue profiling company Cell IDx. The San Diego-based firm provides multiplex staining panels, tissue staining, and imaging and analysis services. Its UltraPlex technology allows for the simultaneous detection of multiple biomarkers in immunoassays through fluorescent and chromogenic multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining technology, as well as automated chromogenic detection of multiple markers on Leica's Bond Rx research stainer, Leica said in a statement. The companies first announced a partnership to combine UltraPlex and Bond Rx last year.

"The Cell IDx technology promotes the translation of complex multiplex IHC signatures into manageable three and four biomarker panels that can be automated on Leica Biosystems' Bond Rx platform for high quality, reproducible staining," Leica Chief Medical Officer Robert Monroe said in a statement. "We see the pairing of UltraPlex and Bond automation as a platform for the creation of next generation tissue-based diagnostics for better prediction of therapeutic response and tumor behavior."


SomaLogic said this week that it has signed Singapore-based Molecular Genomics as a certified site for its SomaScan proteomics assay, its first in Asia.

"Southeast Asia is an incredibly important and rapidly growing market for translational work in clinical research and life sciences," SomaLogic CEO Roy Smythe said in a statement. "We have a number of exciting projects going on in Asia, and we are pleased to be working with Molecular Genomics as part of the expansion and distribution of our proteomics technology in this region."


Chinese cancer molecular profiling firm Genetron Health said this week that it has received notification from Nasdaq indicating that for the last 30 consecutive business days, the closing bid price of its American depositary shares was below the minimum of $1 per share. Genetron has until April 26, 2023, to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rules by having a closing bid price of at least $1 per share for at least 10 consecutive business days.


NanoString Technologies struck a new agreement with Abcam this week to comarket Abcam antibodies for NanoString's high-plex spatial multiomic solutions. Under the agreement, Abcam RabMAb recombinant antibodies will be commercialized as part of the first 64-plex protein panel for NanoString's CosMx Spatial Molecular Imager (SMI). Jointly developed and validated by NanoString and Abcam, the human immuno-oncology panel is the first on the market to combine high-plex spatial proteomic and transcriptomic analyses at single-cell and subcellular resolution, the companies said.


Standard BioTools said this week that it is collaborating with Visiopharm to pair Standard's Hyperion and Hyperion+ imaging systems with Visiopharm Phenoplex analysis software for image processing and spatial pathology, building on a previous comarketing agreement announced last year.


MGI Tech this week launched an additional Customer Experience Center (CEC) in Berlin, Germany. Established in partnership with ALACRiS Theranostics, the CEC is equipped with MGI's DNBSeq-G400 sequencers and MGISP-960 automation system. MGI said the new site will be operated by ALACRiS for its work with local German and Benelux hospitals such as Helios Universitätsklinikum Wuppertal, while also serving as a facility for MGI to conduct product testing and demonstration, training, and experiments. In addition, MGI's technology will support ALACRiS' comprehensive molecular tumor analysis.


German single-cell multiomics analysis firm Singleron Biotechnologies said this week that it has opened a new laboratory in Cologne to showcase its instruments and kits to customers for different research applications. The new lab will also be used by the company for R&D purposes. It will focus on serving customers in Europe, global pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, as well as academic and research laboratories.


Lucid Diagnostics, a subsidiary of PAVmed, said this week that it has started producing its EsoCheck esophageal cell collection devices at Coastline International, a high-volume manufacturer based in San Diego with plants in Mexico. Over the past year, Lucid has worked with Coastline to transfer its manufacturing line from a low-volume manufacturer to Coastline's facility. As a result, per-unit manufacturing costs of EsoCheck devices have decreased by approximately 60 percent, and capacity is now at about 20,000 units per year, allowing Lucid to increase its EsoGuard Esophageal DNA testing volumes.


Binx Health this week announced an agreement with Afaxys Group Services to expand access to Binx's menu of sexual health and wellness tests. Binx will leverage Afaxys' group purchasing organization to offer its FDA-cleared, CLIA-waived point-of-care test for chlamydia and gonorrhea and its at-home digital health platform to clinics in the US. Such clinics will have preferred pricing, Boston-based Binx said.


4baseCare will collaborate with AstraZeneca India to help advanced cancer patients find treatment options using affordable genomics-based molecular profiling, the Mumbai-based precision oncology startup said this week.


Epigenetics firm VolitionRx this week joined the prospective study, Lyonnaise Initiative for the Initiation of Lung Cancer Screening (ILYAD), that is evaluating the performance of blood biomarkers in the early detection of lung cancer. The study, being run out of the Hospices Civils de Lyon in France, will investigate the performance of Volition's Nu.Q blood test alone and in conjunction with a CT scan as a method to detect lung cancer early. Volition's test identifies and measures nucleosomes in the bloodstream that can indicate the presence of cancer.


Bruker said this week that it will pay a quarterly cash dividend of $.05 per share of common stock on Dec. 16 to stockholders of record as of Dec. 1.


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.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.