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NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Nanosphere said after the close of the market on Thursday that it is exploring potential strategic alternatives and has hired Jefferies as an advisor.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Investment bank Jefferies today downgraded Myriad Genetics and Cepheid to Hold from Buy.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Investment bank Jefferies today upgraded shares of Sequenom to Buy following a survey of US commercial payors that suggests the San Diego-based firm is gaining "meaningful traction" in getting coverage for its MaterniT21 Plus LDT test.

Investment bank Jefferies today issued a report saying the budgets of the largest Western European Union funding sources for government-backed research could increase by 5 percent in 2012.

"CMS is the decision-maker here regarding fee schedule placement [of genetic tests] and we are pleased they are recognizing the importance … of having stakeholders provide input on the questions they've asked," said David Mongillo, vice president for policy and medical affairs at the American Clinical Laboratory Association.

The investment firm lowered revenue estimates and the share-price target for Nanosphere following the FDA's denial of the company's Plavix metabolism test.

CFO Roger Moody talked up Nanosphere's test for Plavix metabolism and other tests in the company's pipeline at the Jefferies Global Healthcare Conference.

Sequenom reiterated its plans to launch its T21 test by the end of the year as an LDT, while Agilent is looking to move into the top ranks as a life science instrument vendor.

Gen-Probe sees growth opportunities with its Panther platform and tests for STDs, trichomonas, HPV, and blood screening.

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Science reports that a new White House Office of Management and Budget memo rescinds previous ones that helped research institutions deal with pandemic-related closures.

Researchers report on a concerning strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus found among pigs in China, Agence France Presse reports.

The Associated Press reports that US officials are considering allowing pooled COVID-19 testing.

In Genome Research this week: Y chromosome gene expression analysis, de novo mutations rise with paternal age in rhesus macaques, and more.