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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Enzo Biochem, Codex DNA, More

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific this week opened a new bioanalytical laboratory in Richmond, Virginia. The 59,000-square-foot facility is part of the previously announced $97 million investment by the company to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations in Richmond and will add more than 500 jobs over the next three years. Thermo Fisher said the bulk of the expansion with the new facility will be toward liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry for drug discovery through to clinical testing, as well as subsequent enhancements in cell and gene therapy, biomarkers, vaccine sciences, and immunochemistry. 

Enzo Biochem reported this week that its Q4 2022 revenues were down 18 percent year over year. For the three months ended July 31, revenues were $20.3 million, down from $24.8 million in Q4 2021. The decline was driven by a drop in COVID-19 testing volumes, the company said. Enzo posted a net loss of $8.4 million, or $.17 per share, during the quarter, versus a net profit of $3.3 million, or $.07 per share, in Q4 2021. For the full fiscal year 2022, the company reported revenues of $107.1 million, down 9 percent from $117.7 million in 2021. Net loss for 2022 was $18.3 million, or $.38 per share, versus a net profit of $7.9 million, or $.16 per share, in 2021. Enzo ended the quarter with $21.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. 

Synthetic biology company Codex DNA this week announced a plan to change its company name to Telesis Bio. The firm said the new name reflects its “focus, strategic vision, and growth,” and there will be no change to corporate structure or financial reporting upon the name change. 

Biodesix said this week that its third quarter revenues are expected to grow between 62 percent and 71 percent year over year to a range of $10.6 million to $11.2 million. Lung diagnostic testing revenues are expected to be between $8.9 million and $9.2 million, COVID-19 testing revenues are anticipated to be in the range of $1.1 million and $1.3 million, and biopharma services revenues are expected to be between $600,000 and $700,000. The company said total revenues for full-year 2022 are expected to be on the high end of its previous guidance of a range of $37.5 million to $39.5 million. Biodesix exited Q3 with $15.2 million in cash and cash equivalents. 

Ginkgo Bioworks said this week that it is collaborating with Merck to engineer up to four enzymes for use as biocatalysts in Merck's active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing. Under the terms of the collaboration, Ginkgo will optimize several biocatalysts using its proprietary fungal strains, cell line development, enzyme engineering and optimization, and multiomics expertise. Ginkgo will earn an upfront R&D fee and is eligible for success-based research and development milestone payments. In addition, the firm is eligible for up to a total of $144 million in commercial milestone payments for a specified number of biocatalysis targets. 

Rare disease patient advocacy organizations Global Genes and Rare-X said this week that they have signed a definitive merger agreement. Last year, Rare-X launched a technology platform for collecting and sharing rare disease patient data, which is now used by more than 45 patient organizations. Global Genes and Rare-X, which will retain their brands, said a combined organization will be better able to align Rare-X's platform and research programs with Global Genes' initiatives for drug development, healthy equity, and capacity building. The merger is expected to close by Dec. 31. 

MGRC Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Genomics Resource Center Berhad, said this week that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Malaysia's National Institutes of Health for medical research in the areas of genomics and biopharmaceuticals. Under the deal, the two partners will engage in joint training, exchange research materials, present and publish data, and share experts and personnel. 

Caris Life Sciences said this week that the University of Tennessee Medical Center's Cancer Institute has joined its Precision Oncology Alliance, a network of cancer centers that collaborate to advance precision oncology and biomarker-driven research. POA members work together to establish and optimize standards of care for molecular testing. They also gain access to Caris’ extensive database and artificial intelligence platform, as well as a growing portfolio of biomarker directed trials. 

Bluestar Genomics said this week that it has received clinical laboratory accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. The accreditation allows the company to provide laboratory developed testing to physicians and patients as it works towards broader commercialization of its assay for the early detection of pancreatic cancer. The company’s proprietary approach is anchored in analysis of epigenetic changes via measurement of the biomarker 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in blood. Bluestar’s pancreatic cancer assay has been analytically validated and received US Food and Drug Administration breakthrough device designation but is not yet FDA-approved. The company has a large prospective clinical validation study underway. 

Genetron Health reported this week that its second quarter revenues were down 2 percent year over year. Total revenues for the quarter ended June 30 were RMB 137.7 million (US $20.6 million) compared to RMB 140.5 million in the same period last year. The company’s LDT revenue was RMB 114.9 million, representing a 32 percent increase over Q1 2021, including RMB 48.9 million of COVID-19 testing service revenue, while its IVD revenue was down 79 percent year over year at RMB 9.3 million compared to RMB 43.8 million. Development services revenue rose approximately 43 percent to RMB 13.6 million. Genetron reported a net loss of RMB 236.2 million, or RMB .51 per share, for the quarter, compared to RMB 92.1 million, or RMB .20, in the same period of 2021. The firm ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents totaling RMB 327.6 million. 

Grail and digital health firm Carrum Health said this week that they have partnered to provide Grail’s multi-cancer early detection assay, Galleri, to Carrum’s self-insured employer customers. The move allows these employers to make the test available to their eligible employees as part of Carrum’s larger comprehensive cancer care services. Individuals who receive a signal detected from the test can work with a Carrum Health center of excellence for further diagnostic evaluation and guideline-concordant treatment planning. 

TetraScience said this week that startup systems biology company DeepLife will run its multiomic data analysis workflows on the Tetra Scientific Data Cloud to support artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery. 

Public health informatics firm J. Michael Consulting (JMC) said this week that it has hired BugSeq Bioinformatics to provide cloud-based analytics services for a recently renewed $1.1 million US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contract to run a pilot of an infectious disease surveillance, detection, and preparedness network. BugSeq's technology will help this program, called the Laboratory Response Network, rapidly identify and characterize "pathogens of concern" from next-generation sequencing data, according to JMC. JMC has been developing software to manage, analyze, and visualize NGS data for the CDC's Laboratory Response Network since 2019. Also receiving a subcontract from JMC under the new award is Yahara Software, which will provide software development services and technical support. 

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.