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In Brief This Week: Thermo Fisher, NSF, Quest Diagnostics, and More

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Thermo Fisher Scientific announced this week that it has named the Institute of Pathology Heidelberg's Center of Molecular Pathology at Heidelberg University Hospital as the newest member of the Next Generation Sequencing Companion Dx Center of Excellence Program. The program focuses on forging collaborations between the firm and European-based organizations that can lead studies using Thermo Fisher's Oncomine portfolio of research panels destined for development as companion diagnostics. Working in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners and Thermo Fisher, the IPH Center of Molecular Pathology will conduct studies and clinical trials using Thermo Fisher's next-generation sequencing platforms and various gene panels.

The Orange County Water District, the University of Maryland, and CosmosID this week announced they have received a $100,000 NSF grant to use metagenomics in an effort to improve water quality. The NSF grant, Metagenomic Analysis of Microbial Communities to Ensure Water Quality and Safety, is focused on identifying and characterizing microorganisms by using next-generation sequencing and metagenomics, providing  accurate and actionable assessment of  microbial water quality for both indirect and direct potable reuse.

Quest Diagnostics this week announced that all of its test services for estimating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) now use a new calculation that is more accurate and doesn't require patients to fast from eating food prior to a blood draw. The new calculation method is based on a formula from Seth Martin, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Quest said it is the first national laboratory provider to use the method. Quest and Johns Hopkins University have entered into a license agreement. The new test replaces the Friedewald calculation, which has been the standard method of LDL-C analysis used in cholesterol testing in the US since 1972, Quest said.

Precision for Medicine announced this week that it has acquired Agility Clinical, a contract research organization focused on clinical development of rare diseases and orphan therapies. Precision for Medicine noted that the acquisition creates a comprehensive, fully integrated orphan therapy clinical development services provider with expertise in global clinical trials and biometrics, as well as biomarker and specialty lab capabilities. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Inivata this week announced it had formed the Inivata Knowledge Accumulation Network (IKAN) in partnership with Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute. IKAN will be a global network of cancer centers working with Inivata to assess the potential of liquid biopsy testing for improving outcomes for cancer patients.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on the GenomeWeb site.