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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bio-Techne, 54gene, and More

NEW YORK – In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Thermo Fisher Scientific said it has notified the holders of its $1.2 billion aggregate principal amount of 2.950 percent senior notes due 2026 and the holders of its $750 million aggregate principal amount of 3.200 percent senior notes due 2027 that it will redeem all of the notes on Dec. 30.

Thermo Fisher said it intends to fund the aggregate redemption price of approximately $1.95 billion using cash on hand.

Separately this week, Thermo Fisher and Biognosys announced that they have extended a comarketing agreement to provide life science researchers with comprehensive mass spectrometry solutions to gain deep proteomics insights at a large scale.

Biognosys deploys Thermo Fisher’s instruments in its contract research services facility, and Thermo Fisher comarkets Biognosys software and kits with its Thermo Scientific instruments and workflows. Biognosys’ Biomarker Discovery services for pharmaceuticals and diagnostics development integrate Thermo Scientific Orbitrap and FAIMS Pro instruments with its own Hyper Reaction Monitoring technology and Spectronaut Data Independent Acquisition analysis software to offer depth, quantitative precision, and throughput for unbiased discovery.

Through the extended comarketing agreement, laboratories with in-house proteomics facilities have access to efficient, accurate, and scalable mass spectrometry-based proteomics workflows combining Thermo Scientific mass spectrometry instruments with Biognosys’ proteomics data analysis software and kits.

Bio-Techne said this week it has reached an option agreement for a potential 20 percent ownership investment in Wilson Wolf if that firm achieves about $100 million in revenues or $50 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Minneapolis-based Bio-Techne may also fully acquire Wilson Wolf if it realizes approximately $225 million in revenues or $135 million in EBITDA. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wilson Wolf develops, manufactures, and commercializes cell culture technologies, such as its Gas Permeable Rapid Expansion product line. In early 2020, the two firms and Fresenius Kabi formed a joint venture to support researchers and biopharmaceutical companies in the cell and gene therapy spaces. They said the JV would focus on providing scalable manufacturing technologies and processes to develop and commercialize new cell and gene therapies.

54gene this week announced the launch of its diagnostic arm, 7RiverLabs, which will offer molecular diagnostics to parts of Africa. Sample collection centers with more than 100 employees are open in parts of Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt, with plans to open additional centers in 10 other Nigerian cities in the coming months. 7RiverLabs also plans to expand into other parts of Africa during 2022. Jude Uzonwanne has been appointed the interim CEO of the company. Tests being offered include those for oncology, infectious disease, genetic testing and sequencing, anatomic pathology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, and communicable and noncommunicable diseases, 54gene said.

Aditxt this week announced it has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire a point-of-care testing firm focused on cancer and SARS-CoV-2. Richmond, Virginia-based Aditxt did not disclose the name of the firm but said it develops a range of noninvasive POC and at-home/in-office test kits. The firms have agreed to an exclusivity period until Jan. 31, 2022, to reach a definitive agreement. Aditxt has entered into a secured loan with the acquisition target for $500,000 and has agreed to make additional secured loans for up to $4.5 million.

Secondcell Bio and Alliance Care Technologies International said this week that they've formed a strategic partnership to establish research focused on cell technology and rapid drug discovery to combat rare genetic diseases in the United Arab Emirates. The partners plan to use Secondcell's Chromovert designer cell line engineering technology to scale up drug discovery, with targets including central nervous system indications, COVID-19 and pulmonary edema, orphan and rare diseases, and thalassemia.

Genetron Health said this week that it has launched the "Lung Loves New Life" genetic testing campaign in collaboration with the China Primary Health Care Foundation. As the sole corporate donor, Genetron will provide free genetic testing services using its eight-gene lung cancer assay for 10,000 Chinese lung cancer patients in order to better personalize their treatment.

The China Primary Health Care Foundation noted that it hopes to make genetic tests more accessible to patients, to standardize the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, and to promote the development of precision medicine.

The National MPS Society, Luna, and Genetic Alliance this week launched a digital drug discovery community in partnership with Takeda to advance the understanding of and develop therapeutics for patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type II, also known as Hunter syndrome. Sponsored by Takeda, the program uses whole-genome sequencing to create longitudinal data that can be viewed by industry and the patient community. The data will include input from patients, their families, and patient advocates and is designed to ensure the most relevant clinical and behavioral features and key endpoints are incorporated in the drug-discovery process, the partners said. MPS II is a rare lysosomal inborn error of metabolism caused by mutations in the iduronate 2-sulfatase gene that affects every organ of the body. More than 600 IDS disease-causing mutations have been implicated in MPS II, the partners added.

Syapse said this week that it has inked an oncology real-world data partnership with Delaware healthcare system Bayhealth. Through the partnership, Bayhealth providers and researchers will have access to the firm's de-identified databases of real-world clinical, molecular, treatment, and outcomes data, which they will use to help guide patients' cancer diagnostics and treatment. Bayhealth will also become a part of the Syapse Learning Health Network, through which providers can collaborate, and learn which treatments improve real-world outcomes in patients with clinically and molecularly similar cancers.

DNA data storage firm Iridia said this week that it has closed a $6 million follow-on financing round with Prime Movers Lab. The company closed a $24 million Series B funding round earlier this year. Iridia plans to use the new funding proceeds to further validate its technology and develop working prototypes.

Neogen and 3M this week signed an agreement to separate 3M's Food Safety business and combine it with Neogen, creating a pure-play food safety company with pro forma revenue of approximately $1 billion in its first full year post-closing. The transaction implies an enterprise value for 3M's Food Safety business of approximately $5.3 billion, including $1 billion in new debt to be incurred by the business. 3M is set to receive approximately $1 billion, subject to closing and other adjustments. The transaction is expected to close by the third quarter of 2022.

The combined company will have a significantly expanded product offering in food safety, particularly in indicator testing and pathogen detection, which complement Neogen's existing microbiology lines, the companies said. Neogen will also be able to offer 3M Food Safety customers its genomics and DNA testing services, which will pair especially well with 3M Food Safety's 3M Molecular Detection system, which uses loop-mediated isothermal amplification and bioluminescence detection for food pathogen detection.

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.