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Human Longevity, Merck KGaA Form Cancer Biomarker Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Human Longevity (HLI) announced today that it has partnered with Germany's Merck KGaA to identify treatment-response biomarker signatures in patients with advanced melanoma.

In a pilot project, the companies will look for these biomarkers in patients with locally advanced or metastatic NRAS-mutated cutaneous melanoma who preferentially respond to Merck's MEK1/2 inhibitor pimasertib. As part of the effort, HLI said it will generate genomic sequencing data from clinical trial participants' tumors and germline DNA, then use its machine learning and analytical technologies to analyze the data in the context of survival and other clinical data.

Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our agreement with Merck KGaA …  will enable us to work together to discover novel insights that improve patient survival in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer," HLI CEO Cindy Collins said in a statement.

The Scan

Nature Papers on Long Reads for Bacterial Genomes, Zebrafish Atlas, Hypothalamic Aging in Mammals

In Nature this week: near-finished microbial genomes without polishing, zebrafish functional annotation program, and more. 

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.