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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher; ISI Group, BD; Diagenode; Diaxonhit, XDx; Swift Biosciences; Rancho BioSciences

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Thermo Fisher Scientific this week announced the creation of the China Innovation Center in Shanghai, expanding the company's R&D and training capabilities to support high growth markets in Asia-Pacific.

Thermo Fisher said it has invested $9.5 million into the new center to support its growing R&D organization. The center is anticipated to hire 200 to 300 engineers in the next two to three years, and the center is to include a technology training center that will provide training to 2,500 customers annually in the use of chromatography and mass spectrometry systems, as well as other technologies.

The center also includes more than 30,000 square feet of biology, design-verification-test, and application labs, and 10,000 square feet of training space. Thermo Fisher said that its revenues in China grew by more than 20 percent in 2012. In total, it has 2,300 employees in the country.

ISI Group this week initiated coverage of Becton Dickinson with a Buy rating and a share price target of $106.50. ISI noted BD's diversified portfolio, which it said should allow the company to grow its top line in the mid-single digits over the medium term.

BD Diagnostics, a segment of BD, and Diagenode said that it has received CE marking for the Diagenode Bordetella pertussis/parapertussis real-time PCR kit for use on the BD Max platform. The two firms also launched the kit in Europe.

Diaxonhit and XDx have entered into an exclusive license and distribution agreement to market and conduct XDx's AlloMap Molecular Expression Testing in Europe. The firms announced a memorandum of understanding earlier this month for the deal. On June 20, Diaxonhit's shareholders approved the issuance of warrants and stock to XDx as part of the deal, clearing the last step for the license agreement to become effective.

Life science outsourcing company Rancho BioSciences has joined the Orion Bionetworks alliance as a partner. The alliance seeks to transform the study of brain disorders and accelerate the discovery of new diagnostics, treatments, and cures by combining high-performance computing and technology technologies with biomarkers and big data. As part of Orion Bionetworks, Rancho BioSciences will provide data curation, ontologies, and vocabularies around the transSmart knowledge management infrastructure. It also will provide multivariate genomic and clinical data analysis and disease pathway modeling based on multiple data types.

Swift Biosciences announced its early access program for the Accel-NGS DNA Library Kit for Illumina's next-generation sequencing platforms. The kit is designed to lower input requirements, while providing PCR-free capability and a fast and easy workflow on the Illumina platforms. MiSeq and HiSeq users registering for the early access program will be able to use Swift Bio's technology before it becomes widely available. They will also receive introductory pricing, Swift said. Earlier this year, Swift launched a similar product for Life Technologies' Ion Torrent systems.

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