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In Brief This Week: IntelligentMDx; Techne; Qiagen; Horizon Discovery; Penn Genome Frontiers Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – IntelligentMDx has received the CE Mark for its herpes simplex virus molecular test. The MDx HSV-1/2 runs on the Abbott m2000 platform and detects HSV viral DNA and differentiates HSV-1 and HSV-2 in male and female genital or oral lesions and cerebral spinal fluid.

Investment bank William Blair & Co. has initiated coverage of research reagents provider Techne with a Market Perform rating.

"Techne is a well-run company with a robust brand reputation operating in a highly defensible market; we believe that some valuation premium is warranted given visibility into future organic revenue growth in the mid-single digits and high consistency of cash flow generation," analyst Amanda Murphy said in a statement. "Given continued pressures in the academic market (30 percent of sales), a deteriorating environment in Europe (also 30 percent of sales), and the company's relative concentration within the European markets, we do not see much room for earnings upside or multiple expansion in the near term. Thus, we are initiating coverage with a Market Perform rating."

The AMDeC consortium of academic medical research institutes said this week that it has signed an agreement to offer to its members pathway-focused profiling tools from Qiagen. Products under the agreement include RT-PCR assays, miScript miRNA PCR Arrays, qBiomarker Cancer Mutation PCR Arrays and Assays, and the EpiTect Methyl II PCR System, among other products.

Horizon Discovery said that it has established a Center of Excellence for gene editing at the University of Leicester, UK. The program will focus on the creation of isogenic cell lines that contain 'risk' or 'protective' SNPs associated with cardiovascular disease identified from GWAS studies.

The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute said this week that it will launch a four-year project to increase genomics literacy in high schools. Three Philadelphia-area science teachers will design a genomics unit that uses a case study approach to cover basic genomics concepts and laboratory techniques. PGFI also will host a series of professional development workshops for teachers interested in incorporating these genomics lessons into their own classrooms. The project is supported by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

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

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.