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In Brief This Week: Sequenom; SomaLogic; Response Genetics; Cellular Dynamics; Agilent; Abbott; Veracyte; OncoGenesis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sequenom said this week that its wholly owned subsidiary Sequenom Laboratories signed a national agreement with an unnamed insurance company for coverage of the MaterniT21 Plus non-invasive prenatal test. It is the third national coverage deal signed by Sequenom for the test. The insurer covers 13 million lives in the US and brings the total number of covered lives under agreement by the laboratory's diagnostic services to more than 140 million lives, Sequenom said.

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has become the first biomedical research center to offer researchers on-site access to SomaLogic's SOMAscan assay. The assay identifies and quantifies 1,129 proteins across a range of concentrations in small volumes of multiple biological sample types, and had been available only as a service through SomaLogic at its laboratories in Boulder, Colo. The assay will be run at UPenn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. It is expected to be fully functional at the university by mid-summer, SomaLogic said.

Response Genetics' ResponseDX: Tissue of Origin Test has been included in the National Institutes of Health's Genetic Testing Registry, a searchable database of genetic and genomic tests. The Los Angeles-based company acquired the test when it bought the assets of PathWork Diagnostics in 2013. The test was launched earlier this year.

Cellular Dynamics said in a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it has amended and extended an agreement with Eli Lilly until Nov. 21, 2016 unless it is canceled or terminated earlier. Under the original terms, the pharmaceutical firm agreed to order a minimum number of units of Cellular Dynamics' iCell products each quarter through the fourth quarter of 2014 at a predetermined price. Through Dec. 31, 2014, Cellular Dynamics also would reprogram a specified number of donor samples from Eli Lilly and would invoice the drugmaker for these MyCell products according to a predetermined pricing tier. As of the end of 2013, Cellular Dynamics recognized $3 million of the possible $5 million of revenue attributable to the agreement, the company said in its Form 10-K.

Agilent Technologies said it will redeem all of its outstanding 5.50 percent senior notes due September 2015 on July 14, 2014, the redemption date. The redemption price is equal to the sum of the principal amount of the notes outstanding and accrued and unpaid interest on the notes up to but not including the redemption date. The aggregate principal amount of notes currently outstanding is $500 million, the company said.

Abbott's board declared a quarterly common dividend of $.22 per share payable on Aug. 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on July 15.

Veracyte said in an SEC document that its board has approved the dismissal of PricewaterhouseCoopers as its independent registered public accounting firm and replaced it with Ernst & Young. The thyroid cancer diagnostics firm had no disagreements with PricewaterhouseCoopers, it said.

Proteomics gynecologic cancer testing firm CerMed has changed its name to OncoGenesis and appointed Thomas Umbel as its president and COO. He previously was in senior management at Hologic. OncoGenesis was founded in 2008 and develops multiplex proteomic biomarker-based assays for cervical cancer screening. Other focuses of the company include uterine, ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer.

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