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In Brief This Week: Qiagen; Atossa Genetics; Genomic Vision; In Silico Medicine; NextGxDx; AITbiotech; InterSystems; Intrexon

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen disclosed in its 2013 annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it acquired CLC Bio for $68.2 million, net of cash acquired. It added in the document that the deal was "not significant" to its overall consolidated financial statements. Qiagen announced the acquisition in October but had not disclosed the financial terms at that time.

Qiagen also said in the SEC document that it was contacted by the Internal Revenue Service, which intends to audit the company's 2011 US federal tax return. The audit commences early this year.


Atossa Genetics has received a request for additional information from the US Food and Drug Administration concerning the company's 510(k) application for the ForeCYTE Breast Aspirator. The Seattle-based firm said that it plans to ask for an extension of the 30-day deadline by which a response to the agency is required. If the request is approved, Atossa will have up to 180 days to respond. It added that it does not view the request as unusual or unexpected and that it will continue to work with the FDA toward potential clearance of the breast cancer test device. Atossa filed for clearance of ForeCYTE in December after voluntarily recalling it in October amid FDA concerns about it.


French molecular diagnostics firm Genomic Vision said it has filed for an initial public offering. It plans to list on Euronext Paris. A spinout of the Pasteur Institute, the company said that its genetic tests and research tools combine a proprietary DNA molecule detection technology called Molecular Combing with biomarker discovery. Its products are geared toward cancer, rare inherited disorders, and pharmacogenomics. Last June it and Quest Diagnostics extended a strategic alliance agreement aimed at a laboratory-developed test for an undisclosed hereditary genetic disease. Genomic Vision said that Quest holds a stake in Genomic Vision of up to about 21 percent.


In Silico Medicine, a company developing computer-assisted methods for drug discovery, has officially launched in the US with headquarters in Baltimore. Its CEO is Alex Zhavoronkov. The firm said it draws on the research and software development of its partner, Pathway Pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong, which is using a platform called OncoFinder to select and rate personalized cancer therapies, as well as to identify new cancer drug candidates. In Silico Medicine will use the technology to help drug firms screen and predict the effectiveness of candidate aging-suppressive drugs. The firm said its core expertise is "in all-inclusive gene expression analysis and development of various algorithms that minimize the difference between 'young' and 'old' signaling pathway activation profiles." It is adding new modules, including miRNA, methylation, proteomic, and other modules, that can be used with drug databases, the company said.


NextGxDx said it has closed its Series B financing round, raising an undisclosed amount. Voyent Partners led the round and was joined by the Nashville Capital Network. The funds will be used to grow the Nashville, Tenn.-based company's presence in the hospital market, it said.


AITbiotech has set up a new business division called AITventures to commercialize life sciences and diagnostics technologies in Singapore and said it is investing S$5 million (US$3.9 million) into the new division's activities during the next three years. The Singapore-based firm said it has secured a S$3 million grant from government agency SPRING Singapore and will invest an additional S$2 million into AITventures, which is "sourcing" for technologies in the country and globally to license. It is particularly interested in technologies "that have [a] comparative advantage in Asian developing markets," it said. It added that in January AITventures seeded the first startup, Phoenix Molecular, which is developing a disposable DNA amplification card and handheld reader.


Software firm InterSystems has joined the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm will contribute its expertise in advanced data management, analytics, integration, and health informatics technologies to the non-profit alliance, which seeks to "accelerate the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health."
GA4GH comprises 148 biomedical research institutions, healthcare providers, life science firms, research funders, and other organizations.


Intrexon completed its $26 million acquisition of Medistem, a developer of endometrial regenerative cells. Thomas Ichim, former president and CSO of Medistem, will join the Cell Engineering unit of Intrexon.


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

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.