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In Brief This Week: Bio-Rad; Fitch, Abbott; Gentris; Indiana Biosciences Research Institute; Strand Life Sciences; Oncospire Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Bio-Rad Laboratories said in its recently filed Form 10-Q that it identified errors in financial statements starting in 2008 through the second quarter of 2013 related to the valuation of finished goods inventory in the company's Life Science segment. It expensed inventory in amounts greater than actual costs for non-sales transactions. To correct for the errors, it has increased net income in full-year 2008 by $600,000; in 2009 by $800,000; in 2010 by $700,000; in 2011 by $800,000; and in 2012 by $1.3 million.

For the first quarter of 2013 Bio-Rad increased net income by $300,000, and for Q2 2013 it increased net income by $1 million.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Abbott Laboratories' ratings at A+. Included in the A+ ratings are Abbott's issuer default rating, senior unsecured bank loan, and senior secured debt. Fitch rated Abbott's short-term IDR at F1 and commercial paper also at F1. The ratings firm said that it expects Abbott's diversified product portfolio to continue delivering mid-single digit organic growth "with incrementally improving margins in the intermediate term."

It noted that a weak employment landscape in the US and austerity programs in Europe continue to pressure the company's growth and margins in the developed markets, but also said that it believes Abbott's efforts to improve gross and operating margins will continue yielding results. Abbott's free cash flow is forecast by Fitch to be in the $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion range.

Gentris has opened a genomic biomarker testing biorepository services lab in Shanghai. Gentris Shanghai will offer GCLP-compliant testing and biobanking services for drug manufacturers under international standards. Initially, services being offered include biobanking and nucleic acid preparation. In 2014, the lab will offer genotyping and gene expression services with phased implementation based on market demand, Gentris said.

The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute has reached the first $50 million funding milestone. The institute was launched in May to accelerate collaboration across and among Indiana's universities and industry players focused on human health. The $50 million is being directed at the launch of the institute to pursue genetics and genomics investigations and other research into human diseases. The state-wide public-private partnership received $25 million from corporate and philanthropic funders, it said, matching the $25 million it received from the Indiana General Assembly.

Strand Life Sciences launched its early-access program for its clinical genomics interpretation and reporting platform. Strand collaborated with clinicians in developing the platform, which helps medical practitioners to "confidently deliver clinical reports with ease."

Oncospire Genomics, a joint venture of Cancer Genetics and the Mayo Clinic, held an event Friday to announce the first three next-generation sequencing-based diagnostic panels it plans to develop. The venture said that it will initially focus on lung cancer, multiple myeloma, and follicular lymphoma. Cancer Genetics recently invested $1 million in Oncospire and will invest an additional $5 million upon achievement of certain development milestones.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.