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In Brief This Week: Quest Diagnostics; Thermo Fisher; DiagnoCure; TGen; Med BioGene

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Quest Diagnostics has entered into an accelerated share repurchase deal with Morgan Stanley to buyback about $350 million of Quest's common stock as part of its share repurchase program. The deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter. The company last month announced the board approved an increase to its share repurchase authorization of $1.0 billion.


Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into a reseller agreement that allows it to sell IonSense's ion source technology on two of Thermo Fisher's mass spectrometry systems. Laboratories that analyze food, pharmaceuticals, neutraceuticals, and other complex samples will now be able to purchase Thermo Fisher's Q-Exactive and Exactive Plus LC-MS systems equipped from the factory with IonSense ID-Cube ion sources. The configuration is designed to minimize the need for sample preparation, Thermo Fisher said.


DiagnoCure said that revenues for its fiscal third quarter fell 73 percent year over year. For the three months ended July 31, the Quebec City-based company reported revenues of C$189,585 (US$182,000), compared to C$709,754 a year ago. It said the drop resulted from the termination in January of a development and license agreement with Signal Genetics. All revenues for the recently completed quarter came from royalty payments from Hologic's Gen-Probe business, which increased 39 percent year over year.

Net loss for the quarter was C$595,262, or C$.01 per share, compared to a net loss of C$606,049, or C$.01 per share, a year ago. Operating expenses shrunk to C$784,847 from C$1.3 million a year ago. DiagnoCure ended the quarter with approximately C$4.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, temporary, and long-term investments.


The Translational Genomics Research Institute has received a $100,000 grant from the Charitable Alliance of Restaurant and Retail Executives to research the causes of multiple system atrophy. TGen will perform whole-genome sequencing along with specific family-based investigations in order to uncover new genetic associations with MSA, which attacks the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor movement, coordination, balance, equilibrium, and muscle tone. The cause of the disease is unknown and there is no cure or treatment that can slow its progression. Also called Shy-Drager Syndrome, it affects fewer than five in every 100,000 individuals.


Med BioGene recently said that petitioners have discontinued a petition against the company. The petition made claims against MBI related to the adoption of the advance notice policy by the company's board in advance of the annual and special meeting of shareholders in May; Med BioGene's rejection, "for failure to comply with the requirements of the advance notice policy," of a notice filed by one of the petitioners nominating himself and another person at the meeting as directors of the company; and decisions made by Med BioGene's chairman at the meeting. The case was scheduled to be heard in the British Columbia Supreme Court last week.


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

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.