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In Brief This Week: Premaitha Health; Alere; CombiMatrix; and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Premaitha Health announced this week that it has signed two distribution deals to make its Iona non-invasive prenatal screening test available in the Middle East. The company's new customers, which it did not name, are establishing three laboratories in the region to act as regional hubs for the Iona test. Premaitha expects the labs to be opened during the second quarter. The company has signed several deals with regional distributors in recent months, including one in Russia earlier this month.

In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Alere said this week that it has received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange indicating that it is not in compliance with the exchange's continued listing requirements as a result of its failure to timely file its annual earnings report for 2015. The company was expected to file its fourth quarter and full-year 2015 earnings on Feb. 26, but filed for an extension because it was analyzing aspects of revenue recognition in Africa and China as well as potential implications on evaluation of internal controls over financial reporting for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015. The extension expired March 15. The NYSE has given Alere six months to file its report or face possible delisting.

CombiMatrix said this week that it has closed a previously announced underwritten public offering of 8,000 units of Series F convertible preferred stock and warrants. The company had offered the units at a price of $1,000 each, and raised the $8 million it had previously anticipated.

R-Biopharm and Merck KGaA announced this week that they have agreed to collaborate on developing and launching novel companion diagnostics. Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies also said this agreement provides a framework for further collaborations across a wide range of therapeutic areas and technologies.

Great Basin Scientific said this week that its stockholders approved a reverse stock split at a ratio of between 1 for 20 and 1 for 35, and the firm subsequently announced that it would effect a 1-for-35 reverse split after the close of the market on March 30. The reverse split will reduce the number of shares of the firm's outstanding common stock from approximately 114.2 million to approximately 3.3 million.

The shareholders also approved a proposal calling for the issuance of shares of common stock upon conversion of the company's outstanding senior secured convertible notes, above the current cap on the issuance of shares of 20 percent of Great Basin's issued and outstanding shares on the date the convertible notes were issued. They further voted to eliminate the exercise floor price for the company's series D warrants.

Hologic is being added to the S&P 500 Index, effective March 29. The firm will also be added to the S&P 500 Health Care Equipment Sub-Industry index.

Meridian Bioscience has completed the acquisition of Magellan Biosciences, a Billerica, Massachusetts-based provider of point-of-care testing products for detecting lead poisoning in children and adults. Privately held Magellan had 2015 sales of $16 million and is profitable, according to Meridian. The purchase price is $66 million, which Meridian is providing through $6 million of cash on hand and a $60 million five-year term loan.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on the GenomeWeb site.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.