Through DIGET, the parties plan to use CRISPR to develop a point-of-care (POC) device with the ability to detect 10 pathogens at once. Also in the works is a massively multiplexed detection (MMD) platform that screens more than 1,000 samples simultaneously. According to the companies, the POC device will improve the speed and efficiency of treatment for the military and public health in even the most restricted environments. Additionally, the MMD platform will detect early threats and characterize known and emergent pathogens. The technologies are said to detect pathogens in areas such as respiratory illnesses, febrile illnesses, vector-borne illnesses, gastrointestinal illnesses, and sepsis.

Under the terms of the contract, MRI Global has received $12.7 million with a potential of up to $36 million.

Emedgene and Illumina Partner for AI Genome Interpretation

Emedgene and Illumina announced an exclusive partnership to advance automated data interpretation in genetic testing using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Under the terms of the collaboration, the companies will integrate Emedgene’s AI-powered Clinical Rare Disease application with Illumina’s TruSight Software Suite to provide rapid genomic interpretation.

According to the partners, Emedgene’s Cognitive Genomics Intelligence solution automatically analyzes genome data compiled from Illumina’s TruSight products without long hours of manual review. Specifically, the AI technology will be able to read phenotypes associated with rare diseases. Through the partnership, the parties expect to accelerate the analysis process and provide new insights to improve diagnosis and treatment of patients with rare genetic disorders.

“In the future, patients will have access to the $100 genome, making it as ubiquitous as a blood test," said Einat Metzer, co-founder and CEO of Emedgene. "This genomic data will be attached to an electronic medical record, and inform clinical decision-making throughout our lives. Billions of patients across disease areas will benefit from faster diagnosis and better treatment.”

Bayer and Veracyte Team for Thyroid Cancer Therapies

Bayer and Veracyte have joined forces for the Precision Oncology Patient Identification Program, which will focus on patients who have advanced or metastatic radioactive iodine refractory thyroid cancer and could benefit from biomarker-driven therapies.

As part of the collaboration and program, Veracyte will offer its Afirma Xpression Atlas (XA) test that identifies underlying genes in patients’ tumors, including neurotrophic tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusions that drive tumor growth. Through RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing, the Afirma XA detects 905 DNA variants and 235 RNA fusions in 593 genes on needle samples taken from thyroid nodules or lymph nodes.

Bayer plans to offer testing at no cost to eligible patients when a physician orders a test. Additionally, Bayer will alert physicians when test results detect NTRK gene fusions.

“Patients whose thyroid cancer contains actionable alterations and no longer responds to traditional radioactive iodine therapy now have targeted treatment options available to them. Our goal is to identify such patients so physicians can make more informed treatment decisions for their patients,” said Bhavesh Ashar, senior vice president and head of U.S. Oncology at Bayer.

Oncocyte Expands DetermaRx to China’s Burning Rock

Oncocyte Corporation has signed an exclusive agreement to license its DetermaRx test to Burning Rock Biotech, one of the largest companies in China’s next-generation sequencing-based cancer therapy selection market. The DetermaRx assists in identifying high-risk, early-stage lung cancer patients who need treatment to improve their five-year survival. Through analysis of molecular signatures from tumor tissue, DetermaRx helps physicians determine the best treatment options for patients.

The agreement is the fifth licensing agreement for Oncocyte and will achieve the company’s goal to commercialize DetermaRx in all major markets across the globe within one year of the product launch.

“Combining DetermaRx with our products for genetic testing and minimal residual disease detection, we can provide a comprehensive testing strategy for oncologists to ultimately benefit Chinese early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients by improving their survival and quality of life,” said Yusheng Han, founder and CEO of Burning Rock.

Oncocyte will receive cash payments after installation of DetermaRx as well as ongoing royalties for each patient tested.

Hologic Inks $230 Million Deal for Biotheranostics

Hologic announced a $230 million deal in which it will acquire Biotheranostics, a private company that provides molecular diagnostic tests for breast and metastatic
cancers. Through the purchase, Hologic aims to enhance its current work in the field of oncology with more personalized treatment and better outcomes for women.

Biotheranostics will provide Hologic with its two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, Breast Cancer Index (BCI) and CancerTYPE ID. Biotheranostics’ BCI test compiles tissue from a biopsy test to help doctors and patients determine the risk of recurrence and whether anti-estrogen therapy is needed to reduce the risk. In addition, the CancerTYPE ID test allows medical experts to identify a specific type of cancer by comparing genetic information from a patient’s tumor to a database of more than 2,000 tumors. Both PCR tests have gone through extensive validation and are well established across the United States. Hologic was able to acquire Biotheranostics after seeing a growth in revenue from COVID-19 testing in 2020.