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In Brief This Week: Quest Diagnostics, Biodexis, Caris Life Sciences, SkylineDx, and More

NEW YORK – Quest Diagnostics said this week it has renewed its deal with EmblemHealth to provide clinical laboratory services for more than 3 million members of the health plan and its affiliate, ConnectiCare. Quest said it will be the sole national lab for all EmblemHealth Health Insurance Plan of New York products in 2021, and will work closely with AdvantageCare Physicians, EmblemHealth's multispecialty practice in New York.

Biodesix this week announced a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide antigen and Bio-Rad Laboratories' Droplet Digital PCR testing for teachers and staff in the school system. The testing program launched in January and employs a surveillance testing protocol using antigen tests to monitor asymptomatic employees who may have the coronavirus, followed by ddPCR to confirm the results. CPS will offer all school-based testing to staff at least twice per month, with about half of its staff receiving testing weekly. Chicago has the third-largest district in the US with 642 schools and more than 350,000 students.

Caris Life Sciences said this week that the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has joined Caris Precision Oncology Alliance. The Alliance is a collaborative network of cancer centers that are working to advance comprehensive cancer profiling and establish standards for molecular testing in oncology through research focused on predictive and prognostic markers that improve clinical outcomes for patients.

At Dana-Farber, the alliance will operate from the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology. The network currently includes more than 45 cancer centers and academic institutions, which have early access to Caris’ database and artificial intelligence platform, as well as the Caris CODEai data solution, which has cancer treatment information and clinical outcomes data for more than 215,000 patients.

SkylineDx said this week it received ISO 13485:2016 certification for its quality management system from notified body BSI Netherlands following an audit in November 2020. SkylineDx said it had to demonstrate the design, development, and servicing of its molecular tests, and that they are safe and effective in order to get certification.

Salt Lake City-based molecular diagnostics company Inherent Biosciences this week announced it has closed a seed funding round for an undisclosed amount to launch a male infertility diagnostic test to guide infertility treatment. The seed round was led by Morning Star Foundation with additional participation from MedMountain Ventures, Kickstart Funds, Park City Angels, Rhythm VC, and unnamed angel investors. The company's technology platform combines artificial intelligence and machine learning with epigenetics, and its test pipeline includes epigenetic biomarkers to predict autism in offspring, treatment response for autoimmune disease, and COVID-19 severity and treatment response.

In connection with the funding round, Inherent named former Epigenesys CEO Lewis Rumpler as its executive chairman of the board; Saumitra Thakur of MedMountain Ventures, David Shriner of Morning Star Foundation, and Tia Newcomer (independent) as directors; and Tom Simpson of Kick Start Funds as a board observer. Inherent also named Doug Carrell, Paul Turek, and Larry Lipshultz as clinical advisors.

Abbott this week said its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $.45 per common share, payable May 17 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 15.

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.