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In Brief This Week: Qiagen, Mayo Clinic; Illumina; FDA, DNA Genotek; Agilent; NeoGenomics; Epigenomics; More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Qiagen this week announced a partnership and licensing options with Mayo Clinic. The deal covers the use of the IDH1 and IDH2 biomarkers for diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma and guiding treatment for the disease, a rare form of cancer that affects between 2,000 and 3,000 patients each year in the US. The partners will collaborate on developing new IDH1/2 products for cholangiocarcinoma. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Illumina announced Iowa State University and the University of California, Riverside as new recipients of the company's Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Grants. Iowa State will use the grant to delve into genetics associated with grazing under heat stress in goats and sheep in Egypt. The work is being done in collaboration with the Animal Production Research Institute of Egypt and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. UC Riverside is applying its grant to develop genetic knowledge of the cowpea in order to improve cowpea tolerance to the stress of sub-Saharan Africa. Knowledge gained from the research will then be used for breeding programs in West Africa.

The Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to DNA Genotek saying it found the company's responses to concerns resulting from a September inspection of DNA Genotek's facility in Ottawa, Ontario were inadequate. During the inspection, FDA determined that certain sample collection devices were adulterated. The company's parent firm, OraSure, said that DNA Genotek is "actively engaged and working with FDA to address the agency's observations" and will continue selling all products as it responds to the warning letter. No material effect on revenues is expected from the letter, OraSure added.

Agilent Technologies' electronic measurement business will be named Keysight Technologies after Agilent is split into two publicly traded businesses. The life science and diagnostics business will keep the Agilent name. The company said it anticipates completing the split by the end of the year.

William Blair initiated coverage of NeoGenomics with an Outperform rating. Analyst Amanda Murphy estimated the CLIA-certified testing laboratory would post revenues of $65.9 million in 2013, $72.4 million in 2014, and $82.1 million in 2015.

Epigenomics has been approved to trade in the US on the OTCQX under ticker symbol "EPGNY." The company's American Depositary Receipts began trading this week on the OTCQX International, a segment of the OTCQX market. Epigenomics' shares already trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Genetic testing laboratory Harmonyx Diagnostics has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. The Memphis, Tenn.-based lab, which is also CLIA-certified, focuses on genetic testing for specific pharmacogenomic applications.

Exiqon launched its 2014 global research grant program. Three grants of $12,500 each will be awarded to researches "who can best demonstrate how Exiqon can help them accelerate their RNA discoveries." The program is open to researchers from academic and non-profit institutions. The grants will go toward the purchase Exiqon's RNA products or services. Applications are due by Jan. 31 and must be transmitted electronically here. The winners will be announced in early March.

Dutch firm InteRNA Technologies and the Neuroallianz Consortium have reached a deal aimed at research into miRNAs in neurodegenerative diseases. InteRNA will work with UMC Utrecht professor Jeroen Pasterkamp to apply the company's platform for multiparametric, high-throughput functional screening assays to identify and validate the biological role of individual miRNA and other therapeutic targets.

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