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Dick Syron, Gerald Vardzel, George Grills, Cepheid



Genzyme announced this week that Dick Syron has joined its board of directors.

Syron is CEO and chairman of Freddie Mac. Previously, he has served as CEO, president and chairman of the board at Thermo Electron. He was chairman of the American Stock Exchange from 1994 — 1999.

Gene Express named Gerald Vardzel CEO last week. He was also appointed assistant to chairman of the board.

Vardzel was previously vice president of business development at the company. Prior to Gene Express, he held several key management positions at Becton Dickinson. He has also been a consultant for small- to mid-size equity firms. He is a director for JKMP Group.

George Grills has taken the position of director of advanced technology assessment at Cornell University Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technology.

Grills was formerly director of DNA sequencing at Harvard-Partners Genome Center.


New Releases

Cepheid last week launched its GeneXpert System for in vitro diagnostic use and its Xpert BCR-ABL Monitor assay, which runs on the GeneXpert platform, in the European market. Both GeneXpert and the Xpert BCR-ABL Monitor were released as "Conformite Europeene" (CE) IVD Mark products under the European Directive on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices, the company said in a statement.

The Xpert BCR-ABL Monitor is intended for use in the quantitative monitoring of the BCR-ABL levels of chronic myelogenous leukemia patients to identify those who might be beginning to show resistance to treatment, and in monitoring patients for minimal residual disease. The assay allows healthcare providers in Europe to obtain "timely, near-patient, highly sensitive and accurate results from a blood sample, with minimal potential for RNA loss or sample contamination," Cepheid said. The system purifies, concentrates, detects and identifies targeted nucleic acid sequences, and the BCR-ABL assay provides results in approximately two hours, compared to two to three days for most similar procedures in reference laboratories, the company added.

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The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.