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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher; Exact Sciences; Molecular Devices, Roche; Waters; and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Thermo Fisher Scientific officially opened its $85 million, 350,000-square-foot Niche Diagnostics Center of Excellence in Fremont, Calif. The facility will be used for the development and manufacture of tests for therapeutic drug monitoring, drugs of abuse screening, and other purposes, and employs more than 500 workers.


Exact Sciences this week announced Meriter-UnityPoint Health will offer the company's Cologuard test. The blood-based colorectal cancer screening test was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a final National Coverage Determination for Cologuard earlier this month. Meriter-UnityPoint Health provides healthcare services in the south-central Wisconsin region.


Molecular Devices has teamed with the Roche Innovation Center Basel of Pharma Research and Early Development to develop a high-throughput detection system for drug discovery screens employing Roche's proprietary Ruthenium-based nanosecond time resolved fluorescence assays. The assay will run on Molecular Devices' SpectraMax Paradigm Multi-Mode Detection Platform, a cartridge-based system that expands the capabilities of plate readers beyond traditional assays to include applications such as western blotting and imaging cytometry, Molecular Devices said in a statement.


The Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility at Colorado State University's Fort Collins campus has joined Waters' Centers of Innovation Program. The facility is headed by Jessica Prenni who has used non-targeted proteomics and metabolomics technologies based on liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry for research into food and veterinary science and clinical and microbacterial research.


Paris-based ScreenCell and the Jefferson Breast Care Center have entered into a collaborative study to evaluate the company's devices and protocols for enriching circulating tumor cells from peripheral blood. The breast care center is part of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University. ScreenCell's technology separates CTCs from blood components by differential size.


GenetWorx has added a human identity testing services division. The division will provide human DNA identification; biological relationship analysis; cold case review; consultation; expert witness testimony; laboratory design; training; and validation services. GenetWorx also provides forensic, paternity, and relationship testing.


Monsanto said this week that it will invest $20 million over the next two years to integrate its technology centers as part of its global plant breeding program. It said the centers will use continuing advancements in data science, genomic breeding methods, and predictive analytics to further improve the genetic potential of seeds. The tech centers are located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, and Nebraska.


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

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.