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In Brief This Week: PerkinElmer, Qiagen, Thermo Fisher, and More

NEW YORK –  In a Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, PerkinElmer said it incurred about $3 million in restructuring costs during the third quarter. The company said it implemented a restructuring plan during the quarter ended Sept. 30 that included implementing a workforce reduction that reduced its employee head count by 23 people. The company took a charge of $2.1 million in its Discovery & Analytical solutions segment and a charge of $901,000 in its Diagnostics segment. PerkinElmer last month reported 36 percent year-over-year growth in its Q2 revenues.  

Qiagen said this week that it has commenced a share repurchase program that was initially announced on May 6, 2019. From Nov. 11 to Dec. 17 at the latest, up to $100 million of Qiagen shares (or the equivalent amount in euros), without purchasing costs, will be repurchased through a financial institution commissioned by Qiagen exclusively on the electronic trading platform of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Based on the closing price on Nov. 10, this represents a repurchase volume of approximately 2 million shares. The company noted that the repurchase program reflects confidence in its own growth and reaffirms its commitment to shareholders. 

The University of Oxford and Thermo Fisher Scientific said this week they are working together to increase the university’s COVID-19 testing capacity with a new laboratory and a jointly developed test to detect and quantify antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The university now can perform up to 50,000 tests daily. Researchers there are using the Thermo Scientific Omnipath Combi SARS-CoV-2 IgG ELISA test to provide weekly UK-wide data to the Office of National Statistics as part of the country's COVID-19 Infection Survey. Oxford said the test allows it to more accurately quantify patient responses to vaccines "as part of its ongoing clinical trials to assess the performance of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine." 

OpGen announced this week that its subsidiary Ares Genetics launched an early access program for its next-generation sequencing-based molecular antibiotic resistance test for profiling genetic AMR markers from native specimens. The hybrid capture-based targeted assay, which uses the firm’s ARESdb reference database for AMR markers, is currently available for research use only. The database covers more than 55,000 bacterial strains and associated susceptibility data for more than 100 different antibiotics, the company said. 

The test is an expanded version of the firm’s ARESupa Universal Pathogenome test, which was launched in 2019 to identify pathogens and AMR genes from bacterial isolates. OpGen also noted that it has already received commercial orders for the test exceeding a bulk order volume of $250,000. 

UgenTec and MolGen this week signed an agreement to commercialize a rapid SARS-CoV-2 test developed by TNO, the Dutch organization for applied bioscientific research. The assay, based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification, combines MolGen's PurePrep automated sample preparation technology with UgenTec's FastFinder software package for data interpretation and reporting, sample and instrument tracking, and quality control. The partners said that the test will enable labs to obtain a test result in 90 minutes using an end-to-end workflow. The assay will initially be for research use only and will be marketed in the Netherlands and surrounding companies, with the potential for CE-IVD marking and expansion to additional geographies, a UgenTec spokesperson said.

Caris Life Sciences said this week that Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah has joined Caris' Precision Oncology Alliance, a collaborative network of cancer centers that work together to advance comprehensive cancer profiling and establish standards of care for molecular testing in oncology. HCI is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West region, and serves the largest geographic region of all centers, covering Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. 

The Caris Precision Oncology Alliance now includes more than 40 cancer centers and academic institutions. These institutions have early access to Caris Molecular Artificial Intelligence products and are working to establish evidence-based standards for cancer profiling and molecular testing in oncology.  

GattaCo and iAssay said this week they have signed a memorandum of understanding to integrate and optimize their products to enhance rapid serology testing, including antibody tests for detecting SARS-CoV-2, as well as to improve the transmission of test results to federal and state agencies at the point of care. GattaCo has developed rapid and automated plasma separation tools, which it said can turn a "yes" or "no" antibody test into a semi-quantitative test and enable more sensitive quantitative detection with the iAssay CyberReader device, which quantifies and analyzes COVID-19 test strips and sends the results to doctors, hospitals, and state and federal agencies. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared on 360Dx.