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Guardant Health

The coverage decision limits the test to patients with advanced lung cancers who haven't been genomically profiled and who can't receive tissue-based testing.

The money will fund a new plan to sequence tumor DNA from more than 1 million cancer patients. The firm also announced a new JV in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. 

The Palo Alto-based firm plans to use the money to further validate its non-invasive, early cancer detection technology.

MD Anderson aims to rapidly collect clinical utility data to support decisions by relevant committees to broadly offer the test and to begin persuading payors to reimburse.

Guardant will help MD Anderson develop new assays and conduct clinical studies, and physicians will be able to order the company's test through an EMR system. 

San Francisco Ferry Building

Executives provided updates on their companies at the 35th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

The company signed separate agreements with AstraZeneca, Merck, Merck KGaA, and Pfizer to create the panel, which is expected to help speed drug development.

The results indicate that while blood-based assays can be useful, tissue biopsies should remain the gold standard when available, said one of the study authors.

A small study has found that two next-generation sequencing tests that examined the same cancers uncovered different genetic alterations.

Guardant360 will be the preferred non-invasive assay for clinical testing of patients at the Lurie Cancer Center, and will be used in various research efforts.

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The Hastings Center's Erik Parens argues in a Scientific American opinion piece that the current pandemic underscores the need to reconsider the hope placed in genomic medicine. 

The Los Angeles Times writes that Operation Warp Speed has an ambitious timeline for developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia is launching its trial of preconception carrier testing Tuesday.

In PNAS this week: autosomal genes commonly affected by loss-of-function variants, variants implicated in testis development disorders, and more.