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In Brief This Week: Quest; Human Variome Project; Philippine Genome Center, Life Technologies; Wafergen; More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Quest Diagnostics has acquired ConVerge Diagnostic Services from Water Street Healthcare Partners. ConVerge is a full-service laboratory providing clinical, cytology, and anatomic pathology test services in New England. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Included in the acquisition is ConVerge's lab in Peabody, Mass., as well as patient service centers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. ConVerge will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Quest.

Quest this week also pre-announced its third quarter earnings results, which are expected to fall short of consensus Wall Street expectations. It recently sold its Enterix business.


The Human Variome Project South East Asian Node has launched. The project will be coordinated from Melbourne, Australia and will complement efforts in Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand to share information about genetic variations in South East Asian populations between member nations and the rest of the world. The project has four goals — to create and maintain standards, systems, and infrastructure needed to collect, curate, interpret, and share information across the genome; to advocate and promote ethical behavior in medical genetics and genomics; to share knowledge about the genome and its function in determining health; and to help individuals and nations expand their capacity "to address genetics aspects of individual and global health."


The Philippine Genome Center has opened its DNA sequencing core facility, equipped with instruments and products from Life Technologies. They include the 3730xl DNA Analyzer, Ion PGM and Ion Proton sequencers, Ion AmpliSeq Gene Panels, and a 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System and auxiliary products. The facility is located on the University of Philippines Diliman campus and will provide sequencing and bioinformatics services to clients, as well as pursue research in human health and agriculture.


Wafergen Biosystems has filed for a public offering of $20.3 million of its common stock on behalf of certain selling shareholders. The Fremont, Calif.-based firm will not receive any proceeds from the offering, but will receive about $6.2 million if warrants are exercised by the shareholders in full.

In a Form S-1 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Wafergen said it plans to offer up to 10.9 million shares of its common stock, comprising about 1.1 million shares of its issued and outstanding shares of common stock; 7.5 million shares of common stock issuable upon the conversion of almost 3,000 shares of Series 1 Convertible Preferred Stock; and 2.4 million shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants issued to selling shareholders in August pursuant to an exchange agreement.

Last week, Wafergen completed a $15 million private placement.


Biosample storage firm Wheaton and CryoXtract Instruments inked a global, non-exclusive co-marketing deal to provide researchers solutions for the storage, preservation, and access of frozen tissue samples. Under the terms of the deal, researchers will be able to use Wheaton's new CryoElite Tissue Vial to store their tissue biospecimens. They will also be able to access them through CryoExtract's CXT350 platform.


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

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

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.