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In Brief This Week: Qiagen; BGI; Thermo Fisher Scientific; and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen said this week that a judge has recommended partial dismissal of lawsuit filed against the company by Oxford Immunotec for patent infringement. The suit, filed in August 2015, concerns six patents and Qiagen's QuantiFERON Gold latent TB test. Oxford Immunotec alleged that Qiagen and other companies had infringed on its patents by developing their own TB tests. A magistrate judge has now recommended that part of the case against the defendants be dismissed as part of Oxford Immunotec's patents covered unpatentable subject matter. Qiagen said it is pleased with the recommendation, as it allows the company to continue selling the QuantiFERON test. For its part, however, Oxford Immunotec said it believes the ruling will allow it to press on with its case, as the judge also noted that the firm's tests for TB have improved on prior methods of testing. Both sides now have 14 days to respond to the judge's recommendations.

BGI told GenomeWeb this week that it has led a RMB200 million ($30 million) series A funding round for Beijing Gene+ Technology, a gene testing and precision medicine start-up company.

FEI announced this week that its shareholders have approved its acquisition by Thermo Fisher Scientific. The $4.2 billion transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Agena Bioscience announced this week that it has certified Genelex as a service provider of its MassArray technology. The MassArray is a mass spectrometry-based platform for high-throughput genetic analysis, and is intended for research use. Genelex will now be able to provide customer support, customizable assay design, and test development for the MassArray for customers.

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

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.