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In Brief This Week: Labcorp, 54gene, Genetron, Thermo Fisher, Aditxt, More

NEW YORK – Laboratory Corporation of America said this week it has entered into accelerated share repurchase agreements with Goldman Sachs and Barclays Bank to repurchase an aggregate of about $1 billion of Labcorp common stock. The company will receive an aggregate initial number of 2,735,604 shares of common stock from Goldman Sachs and Barclays. The transactions are expected to be completed by the end of April 2022, Labcorp said.

54gene this week announced the launch of its diagnostic arm, 7RiverLabs, which will offer molecular diagnostics to parts of Africa. Sample collection centers with more than 100 employees are open in parts of Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt, with plans to open additional centers in 10 other Nigerian cities in the coming months. 7RiverLabs also plans to expand into other parts of Africa during 2022. Jude Uzonwanne has been appointed the interim CEO of the company. Tests being offered include those for oncology, infectious disease, genetic testing and sequencing, anatomic pathology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, and communicable and noncommunicable diseases, 54gene said.

Genetron Health said this week that it has launched the "Lung Loves New Life" genetic testing campaign in collaboration with the China Primary Health Care Foundation. As the sole corporate donor, Genetron will provide free genetic testing services using its eight-gene lung cancer assay for 10,000 Chinese lung cancer patients in order to better personalize their treatment.

The China Primary Health Care Foundation noted that it hopes to make genetic tests more accessible to patients, to standardize the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, and to promote the development of precision medicine.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Thermo Fisher Scientific said it has notified the holders of its $1.2 billion aggregate principal amount of 2.950 percent senior notes due 2026 and the holders of its $750 million aggregate principal amount of 3.200 percent senior notes due 2027 that it will redeem all of the notes on Dec. 30.

Thermo Fisher said it intends to fund the aggregate redemption price of approximately $1.95 billion using cash on hand.

Aditxt this week announced it has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to acquire a point-of-care testing firm focused on cancer and SARS-CoV-2. Richmond, Virginia-based Aditxt did not disclose the name of the firm but said it develops a range of noninvasive POC and at-home/in-office test kits. The firms have agreed to an exclusivity period until Jan. 31, 2022, to reach a definitive agreement. Aditxt has entered into a secured loan with the acquisition target for $500,000 and has agreed to make additional secured loans for up to $4.5 million.

Belgian pharmaceutical company Contipharma said that it has signed contracts with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Sudan as part of its effort to make its saliva-based PCR test for SAS-CoV-2 available throughout Africa. The test was developed by the University of Liège and was CE marked earlier this year. It can detect all known variants of the virus, including Omicron, and features a self-collection protocol, Contipharma said.

Bluejay Diagnostics, which went public on the Nasdaq in November raising approximately $21.6 million, this week reported its third quarter financial results. For the three months ended Sept. 30, the Acton, Massachusetts-based developer of rapid, near-patient diagnostics reported no revenues and a net loss of $1.2 million, or $.11 per share, compared to a net loss of $127,988, or $.04 per share, in the year-ago period. The company's Q3 R&D expenses were $442,527 compared to $2,723 a year ago, while its general and administrative spending was $445,050 compared to $131,094 in Q3 2020. Bluejay finished the quarter with $2.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities. The company said that its first product, an IL-6 test for sepsis triage, is on track for a pre-submission filing with the US Food and Drug Administration in January 2022.

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.