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In Brief This Week: Yourgene Health, Lucira Health, BigOmics Analytics, Centogene, and More

NEW YORK – Yourgene Health said this week that its Yourgene Genomic Services business has been awarded a contract by the UK's Department of Health and Social Care to provide COVID-19 winter surge testing. The contract runs until March 31, 2022 and is the third DHSC contract awarded to Yourgene under the Public Health England National Microbiology Framework agreement. In August, Yourgene won a contract for COVID-19 PCR surge testing, and earlier this month, it secured a contract by the UK Health Security Agency for the provision of genetic sequencing services.

Lucira Health said this week that it has reached an agreement with Toronto-based Switch Health Solutions to provide more than 2 million at-home COVID-19 test kits in Canada. Lucira's test leverages real-time loop-mediated isothermal amplification technology to provide results in 30 minutes. The US Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorization for the test in November 2020. Switch Health provides decentralized patient care.

BigOmics Analytics said earlier this month that it has raised nearly $1.9 million in a pre-Series A funding round that will remain open until January. TiVentures led the round, with participation from Century Oak Capital, Champion Hill Ventures, Acequia Capital, and several angel investors. The Swiss bioinformatics startup said that it will use the funding to hire more employees and commercialize its governed self-service analytics (GSSA) platforms for multiomic data. Viganello, Switzerland-based BigOmics is a spinout from the Università della Svizzera italiana'sInstitute of Oncology Research and the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence. 

Centogene said this week that its CEO Andrin Oswald is taking a temporary medical leave of absence for at least four weeks. The company did not provide further details about his condition. Kim Stratton has been appointed as interim CEO while Oswald, who became CEO in December 2020, is on leave. Stratton was most recently CEO of Orphazyme, which focuses on treatments for patients with rare diseases. Before that, she was head of international commercial for Shire Pharmaceuticals' specialty and rare diseases portfolio and spent 15 years at Novartis in several senior management positions.

SkylineDx said this week that it has received a capital investment of undisclosed amount from US-based investment and advisory firm Novalis LifeSciences and from Netherlands-based Van Herk Investments. SkylineDx noted it is at a "critical growth stage," with its first products introduced in the US. Its dermatology program is focused on prognostic and predictive biomarker development covering melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. With the new funding, Skyline aims to accelerate clinical adoption of its Merlin Test for melanoma.

Progenity said this week that it has completed divesting its Avero Diagnostics affiliate to Northwest Pathology for $10.9 million and is thus exiting the laboratory business. The sale will result in a yearly operating expense reduction of $28 million and is part of the company’s plan to significantly reduce its cash burn.  

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.