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In Brief This Week: Syapse; Amoy Diagnostics; Precision Therapeutics, Med BioGene; Abbott

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Syapse, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup developing software for interpreting next-generation sequencing data to diagnose and treat patients, has raised $3 million in Series A venture capital funding. The firm will use the funds to hire between eight and 10 software developers who will help the company continue development of its flagship product, Syapse Discovery, a web-based tool intended for companies and labs running NGS-based diagnostics.

For more on Syapse, please see this article in GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication BioInform.

Amoy Diagnostics said this week that it has obtained the CE Mark for several of its tests including the EML4-ALK Fusion Gene Detection Kit, the PIK3CA Five Mutations Detection Kit, the ERCC1 Gene Expression Analysis Kit, and the BRAF V600 Mutations Detection Kit. The company also said that it has submitted marketing applications in China for the EML4-ALK, PIK3CA, and ERCC1 tests.

Precision Therapeutics and Med BioGene this week said that they have completed clinical studies to validate the use of Med BioGene's LungExpress Dx with tissue preserved by RNAlater, a molecular fixative. RNAlater eliminates the need to flash-freeze specimens and keeps specimens frozen throughout storage and transport, the firms said.

Precision said that it expects to launch commercialization of LungExpress Dx, a gene expression-based test for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, though its certified CLIA lab in mid-2013.

Abbott said this week that it has been named to the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats and S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Indices. In December, Abbott's board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $.14 per share payable Feb. 15, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 15, 2013.

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

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.