Grifols, a company that specializes in blood plasma-based products, announced it is acquiring 10% of the online marketplace Bloodbuy.

Bloodbuy distributes blood products across the United States and the Caribbean. Through this cloud-based platform, blood centers and hospitals connect to buy and sell blood supplies that might be challenging to obtain elsewhere. The company promotes an easy-to-use online system that allows recurring or one-time purchases of blood products.

“Grifols has always been interested in how digital technologies can disrupt the healthcare model to deliver better patient care more effectively,” said David Bell, chief innovation officer of Grifols. “We believe Bloodbuy provides a unique opportunity to use technology to ensure critical blood components reach the patients who need them quickly and efficiently.”

Through the agreement, Grifols will join the Bloodbuy Board of Directors to assess the online market and provide guidance for future company growth. Currently, Bloodbuy’s network consists of both large, well-known medical institutions as well as some smaller, independent blood centers. The company envisions a growing network of participants as blood supply shortages continue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our blood supply, both with respect to supply and demand shocks related to social distancing, suspension of elective procedures, and other necessary public health interventions,” said Chris Godfrey, founder and CEO of Bloodbuy. “These externalities have had profoundly negative effects on blood product availability and utilization from region to region.”

Thermo Fisher, Qiagen Terminate $11.5 Billion Deal

Thermo Fisher Scientific and Qiagen have announced the termination of an agreement in March 2020 under which Thermo Fisher would have acquired Qiagen for $11.5 billion. The companies parted ways after too few of Qiagen’s shareholders approved of the deal. In order to move forward with the deal, Qiagen required two-thirds of its shareholders to approve; however, only 47% showed support, according to the company.

The original deal was intended for Qiagen’s diagnostic solutions to help Thermo Fisher expand its practice in infectious diseases, specifically with the development of a SARS-CoV-2 test in China.

“Thermo Fisher is a disciplined acquirer with a strong track record of executing value-creating transactions. We remain extremely well-positioned to deliver on our proven growth strategy and continue to generate significant returns for our shareholders,” said Marc N. Casper, Thermo Fisher’s chairman, president, and CEO.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qiagen will pay Thermo Fisher $95 million in a cash reimbursement.

Sysmex and Siemens Team on Urinalysis Technology

Sysmex America has entered into an agreement with Siemens Healthineers for distribution rights of Siemens’ Clinitek Novus Automated Urine analyzer. Under the terms of the agreement, Siemens will allow Sysmex to distribute the urinalysis technology to hospitals and laboratories exclusively in North America. Sysmex will also gain rights to incorporate the analyzer into its series of automated urinalysis workflow systems under the Un-Series name.

The Clinitek Novus Automated Urine analyzer is the latest product to be manufactured as part of Siemens’ widely known Clinitek urine analysis brand. By combining the use of testing strips and testing cassettes, the technology can test up to 240 samples in 1 hour.

“Siemens Healthineers Clinitek Novus Urine analyzer completes Sysmex America’s automated urinalysis portfolio, resulting in a modular and fully automated urinalysis workflow solution that integrates urine chemistry, fluorescent flow cytometry, and digital imaging,” said Andy Hay, chief operating officer of Sysmex.

Companies Collaborate for New COVID-19 Swab Samples

In an effort to help with the supply shortages for COVID-19 testing, Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and The Rodon Group, a plastic injection molding company, have announced a partnership to develop and commercialize a collection of nasal and oral swabs that test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The Rodon Group has already received Food and Drug Administration approval to distribute the swabs to healthcare facilities. Specifically, the companies plan to provide Temple University Health System a supply of swabs that would last for the next 5 years. 

Fox Chase began testing the swabs on patients through a two-swab testing method. By using a swab that is currently on the market, then retesting with the newly developed swabs, the parties were able to verify that the latter of the two swabs showed greater sensitivity and efficiency.

Currently, The Rodon Group is taking the next steps in manufacturing the swabs and focusing on sterilization and packaging to maintain safe and uncontaminated transportation.

“We think it’s critically important, now more than ever, that healthcare devices, whatever they may be, can be made safely in the United States, and we’re happy to be part of that effort,” said Michael Araten, CEO of The Rodon Group.

Genedrive and Beckman Partner to Improve PCR Testing

Genedrive and Beckman Coulter have entered into an agreement to help increase testing for COVID-19. The partnership hopes to validate the Genedrive 96 SARS-CoV-2 kit on the Biomek i7 automated workstation using saliva samples obtained from Beckman Coulter’s RNAdvance viral extraction kit. If it's validated, the companies believe that the new solution could result in 1,000 polymerase chain reaction samples from just one Biomek instrument during an 8-hour workday.

Though the partners have confirmed that the Genedrive 96 SARS-CoV-2 kit is compatible with Beckman’s RNAdvance viral extraction kit, validation is still required for the saliva samples. 

“The combination of our ready-to-use chemistry with robotics and onboard RNA extraction can give laboratories a unique and rapid workflow that can achieve impressive throughput and result turnaround times. We are both working to have the ongoing validation completed in approximately 6 weeks, with initial introduction in the USA at an already identified clinical laboratory,” said David Budd, CEO of Genedrive.