Sema4 to acquire genetic testing firm GeneDx for $623m
19 January | Deal
Sema4 has signed a definitive agreement to acquire genetic testing company GeneDx from OPKO Health for approximately $623m.
GeneDx provides advanced genomic testing to patients and their families, offering a clinical genomics programme with expertise in exome sequencing for rare and ultra-rare paediatric genetic disorders.
Through this deal, Sema4 expects to strengthen its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven genomic and clinical data intelligence platform.
The transaction includes a $150m upfront payment, 80 million Sema4 shares and an additional $150m based on revenue milestones achieved over the next two years.
With an estimated $350m pro forma revenue projected this year, the combined company is expected to become one of the largest and most advanced genomic clinical testing providers in the US.
25 January | Results
PHILIPS SEES SALES DECLINE IN Q4 2021
Philips has reported group sales of $5.54bn (€4.9bn) in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021 as against €5.2bn in the same period of 2020.
Net income for the latest quarter was €151m as against €607m in Q4 2020. The company reported a 10% comparable sales decline in Q4 2021 as against a growth of 6% in the year ago quarter.
For the full year 2021, the company posted $19.47bn (€17.2bn) in group sales as against €17.3bn in 2020. It posted a 1% comparable sales decline in 2021 as against a growth of 3% in 2020.
24 January | Finance
CASANA RAISES $30M IN SERIES B FUNDING ROUND
Casana has raised $30m in Series B funding led by Morningside to accelerate the development of its new home health monitoring technology.
Series A investors Outsiders Fund and General Catalyst participated, along with private equity investment firm Matrix Partners.
This round has brought the total capital raised by Casana so far to $46m. Casana intends to use the funds to develop and commercialise its patient-centred health monitoring product, the Heart Seat.
24 January | Diagnostics
NATERA’S MRD TEST PREDICTS BENEFIT OF CHEMOTHERAPY FOR COLORECTAL CANCER
Natera has reported that new data from the CIRCULATE-Japan trial shows that its tumour-informed molecular residual disease (MRD) assay, Signatera, can predict the benefit of chemotherapy treatment for colorectal cancer patients.
A custom-built circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) test, Signatera is designed to monitor treatment and analyse MRD in patients diagnosed with cancer. The FDA granted three breakthrough device designations for the test for various types of cancer and indications.
Available for clinical and research use, Signatera offers each person a customised blood test made to fit the unique signature of clonal mutations seen in a patient’s tumour.
The prospective, multi-centre, MRD-guided CIRCULATE-Japan trial has now recruited more than 3,000 CRC patients. In this study, the MRD status of patients who are suffering from stage I-IV CRC will be monitored post-surgery for a period of up to 96 weeks using the Signatera test.
21 January | Diagnostics
ALPHA TAU AND MD ANDERSON TO STUDY ALPHA DART FOR BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
Alpha Tau Medical has announced an agreement with University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center investigators to study the potential of alpha diffusing alpha-emitters radiation therapy (DaRT) along with DNA-repair inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat breast cancer tumours.
Alpha Tau developed the alpha-radiation cancer therapy Alpha DaRT.
As part of the research agreement, the investigators will focus on the alpha radiation mechanism and its relative efficiency in destroying cancer cells in comparison to traditional radiation modalities. This will enable the assessment of any potential synergy in providing immune stimulation for improved breast cancer cells destruction.
20 January | Diagonstics
MOBILEODT LAUNCHES VISUALCHECK ALGORITHM FOR CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING
FemTech company MobileODT has released its next-generation VisualCheck Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithm for the screening of cervical cancer.
Using multiple AI algorithms, VisualCheck provides results in less than 60 seconds, with accuracy similar to that of leading experts.
The company stated that the new technology has been integrated with pathology (biopsy) results as a ground truth, which will allow it to recognise patterns that may not normally be visible to the human eye. Additionally, the algorithm incorporates human-annotated images.
The VisualCheck technology closely mirrors cervical cancer and pre-cancer distribution in patients.
20 January | Covid-19
WALGREENS LAUNCHES INTERACTIVE TOOL TO TRACK COVID-19 VARIANTS
Walgreens has launched a new interactive tracking tool, the Walgreens Covid-19 Index, to advance the rapid detection of Omicron and track variant activity. It says the index can track the spread of the omicron variant within 24 to 48 hours.
The tool uses testing data from Aegis Sciences Corporation and uniquely identifies the spread of current and emerging virus variants in real-time.
The tool offers a snapshot of data for the past seven days based on positive tests analysed at more than 5,000 Walgreens locations across the nation.
According to the data collected and tracked by the tool, more than 95% of all positive cases of Covid-19 nationally are presumed to be the Omicron variant.
18 January | Diagnostics
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX RESEARCHERS TO DEVELOP BRAIN TUMOUR TEST
Scientists at the University of Sussex in the UK are closer to developing a new blood test for identifying the most aggressive form of brain tumour.
University of Sussex cancer cell signalling professor Georgios Giamas’ team has identified distinctive biomarkers in patient blood samples that may signal the presence of glioblastoma, the most common high-grade primary brain tumour in adults.
In collaboration with University Hospitals Sussex consultant neurosurgeon and spinal surgeon Giles Critchley, the team identified biomarkers within extracellular vesicles, which are small particles secreted by all cells carrying different information, such as proteins or DNA.
The university stated that the ability to detect these biomarkers suggests that a liquid biopsy approach could be used to diagnose glioblastoma.
FDA APPROVES MEDTRONIC NEUROSTIMULATORS TO TREAT CHRONIC PAIN FROM DPN
The FDA has approved Medtronic’s Intellis rechargeable neurostimulator and Vanta recharge-free neurostimulator to treat chronic pain related to diabetic peripheral neuropath, a neurological disorder that impacts around 30% of people with diabetes. The approval offers patients access to Medtronic’s spinal cord stimulation (SCS) portfolio of both rechargeable and recharge-free platforms.
MICROPORT CRM SECURES APPROVAL FOR ALIZEA PACEMAKERS IN JAPAN
MicroPort CRM has received approval from Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency for its new range of Alizea pacemakers equipped with Bluetooth technology. The implantable pacemakers are paired with the company’s SmartView Connect home monitor, which provides cardiologists with detailed patient reports and alerts, as well as offering advanced remote monitoring and follow-up.
FDA GRANTS 510(K) CLEARANCE TO QURE.AI’S ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ALGORITHM
The FDA has granted 510(k) clearance Qure.ai’s artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, known as qXR-BT. The algorithm can automate the manual measurement process for endotracheal as well as tracheostomy tubes, and uses X-rays of intubated patients to help clinicians assess breathing tube placement.
HEALTH CANADA APPROVES SEEGENE’S SARS COV-2 FLUA/FLUB/RSV ASSAY
Health Canada has authorised Seegene’s Allplex SARS CoV-2 FluA/FluB/RSV Assay under its Interim Order. The new multiplex real-time PCR assay is designed to identify the N, S and RdRP genes, which are used to detect SARS-CoV-2, influenza A, influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus, in a single test. It enables the differentiation and amplification of respiratory symptoms simultaneously.