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Almac

The firm will offer a range of customizable bioinformatics and biostatistics solutions to help with biomarker discovery and development, exploratory analysis, mechanistic and functional analysis, traditional and next-generation sequencing data analysis, biostatistics, and data integration.

The business is aimed to help its pharmaceutical, biotech, and diagnostics clients discover and develop biomarkers.

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

Almac has offered its experience, particularly with array technology, to pharma partners in the past, but the new program represents a single, comprehensive package specifically for pre-clinical drug development.

Aeterna Zentaris and Almac are entering into a research collaboration to develop a companion diagnostic to be used with Aeterna Zentaris' potential cancer drug.

The new chip, based on Affymetrix's GeneChip platform, is intended for use in studies where cross-disease compatibility is important, an attribute that Almac calls a "notable advantage" for its pharmaceutical customers.

After missing the first-to-market opportunities with KRAS, both Merck KGaA and Amgen are strategically looking into additional gene markers, with the likely aim of being able to launch companion tests to their drugs that are more sensitive and accurate than the competition.

The deal is the latest in a string of agreements that have paired the Disease Specific Array maker with major pharmaceutical companies to develop biomarkers that can later be used in companion diagnostics.

The partners will assess potential biomarkers, beyond KRAS, of response to cancer drug cetuximab (Erbitux).

Citing ongoing demand from the pharmaceutical industry and biotech firms, an Almac Diagnostics executive said that the company plans to expand its bioinformatics team next year beyond its current headcount of 20 staffers.

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The New York Times looks at companies using genomic tools to try to quickly identify the cause of patients' infections.

The White House has asked for $2.5 billion in funding to address the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Associated Press.

A resignation at the Marine Biological Laboratory highlights that institutions are unsure of how to handle researchers previously found to have violated codes of conduct, Nature News says.

In PNAS this week: immune responses that affect heart transplant rejection risk, gene variants associated with thiopurine toxicity, and more.