Schott Minifab, a Schott subsidiary that develops and manufactures microfluidic devices for point-of-care and life sciences consumables, has announced a deal to acquire Applied Microarrays (AMI).

Previously, the two companies worked together to develop biotech substrates for diagnostics applications, Schott officials said. The deal will further strengthen Schott’s ability to offer a single-source contract manufacturing solution, the officials added. They noted that the deal, which was expected to close in December 2021, expands the company’s biosensor printing capabilities as demand for point-of-care microarray consumables grows, especially for applications such as infectious disease detection. Additionally, AMI’s bioscience knowledge enhances its capability in surface modification, functionalization, and deposition for both glass and polymer products.

AMI officials noted they are joining Schott as the market continues to move toward point-of-care diagnostics. The company’s knowledge and technical capability allows it to offer a more holistic approach, while shortening the time to market for customers, they added. "With the added bioscience knowledge of AMI, we become an even stronger partner, enhancing our capability in surface modification, functionalization and deposition for both glass and polymer products,” said Greg Wolters, head of Schott Minifab.

COVID-19 Test on Exhaled Breath in the Works

An agreement involving the nanoelectronics and digital technology company imec, the imec spinoff miDiagnostics, and Johns Hopkins University will kickstart commercialization of a COVID-19 breathalyzer test.

The nonexclusive licensing agreement allows for use of patented imec technology for capturing aerosols and droplets from exhaled breath so it can be screened for viral RNA using miDiagnostics’ ultrafast PCR technology, according to imec.

Recent research on imec’s breath sampler shows it can capture the SARS-CoV-2 virus in exhaled air and detect viral RNA quickly and reliably. The sampling instrument integrates the breath sampling technology and imec’s ultrafast PCR test.

Officials at imec said that the studies show proof-of-concept and bring their test closer to the market. miDiagnostics officials noted that a prototype will be tested at an airport in collaboration with Brussels Airport, Ecolog, and Eurofins.

Deal Could Make Advanced Sequencing More Accessible to Rare Disease Patients

Twist Bioscience and Centogene have signed a contract to collaborate on the development and commercialization of custom assay kits for rare diseases.

Twist offers synthetic DNA using its silicon platform, while Centogene focuses on generating data-driven insights to diagnose, understand, and treat rare diseases.

The contract will result in tests that combine Centogene’s rare disease diagnostic expertise enabled by its large bio-databank and Twist’s library preparation and target enrichment capabilities. The aim is to increase genetic testing options for the one in 15 individuals diagnosed with a rare disease annually, to add insights that augment the rare disease bio-databank, and to contribute to the future discovery and development of novel therapeutics.

Partnership Focuses on Data-Driven Insights to Advance Women’s Health

A new partnership is intended to advance women’s health through rapid results, diagnosis, and insights.

The partnership between Genoox, the world’s largest community-driven genomic data platform, and Aspira Women’s Health, a bioanalytical-based women’s health company, will lead to information and tools to help develop better methods for ovarian cancer risk assessment, Aspira officials said.

Currently, most genetic sequencing information is in multiple databases, limiting access to and analysis of this important data. Lack of advanced data aggregation and analytics that inform machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms make effectively detecting early-stage diseases, monitoring, and treatment more difficult.

Genoox’s global platform brings together information available in the public domain on one platform, allowing for the complete analysis of the data and better patient care. Aspira plans to leverage this knowledge base to expand its proprietary algorithm development across multiple product lines.

Collaboration to Provide No-Charge Genetic Testing for Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Testing

Krystal Biotech and GeneDx have announced a collaboration offering no-charge genetic testing for all types of the genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

Testing occurs through the Krystal Decode DEB program, which is designed to shorten time to accurate diagnosis and facilitate the delivery of optimal care. The program helps patients with the dystrophic form of EB, also known as DEB, get quicker definitive diagnoses.

The Krystal Decode DEB program is open to all U.S. residents, including residents of Puerto Rico who have clinical symptoms consistent with EB and have not previously received genetic testing.

Accurately diagnosing dystrophic EB is critical because patients with the disorder have higher risk of squamous cell cancer, internal complications, and mortality. In the U.S., EB is too often diagnosed by clinical features alone without molecular confirmation.

Strategic Alliance Will Advance Personalized Cancer Diagnostics and Treatments

Anew strategic alliance between the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and BostonGene will advance development and clinical integration of multiplatform biomarker signatures involved in cancers.

BostonGene and MD Anderson will collaborate on translating research findings into clinically actionable tests. The companies expect to validate promising clinical biomarker targets through retrospective and prospective MD Anderson investigator-sponsored trials for patients with common and rare cancers. As part of the research alliance, MD Anderson and BostonGene will collaborate on clinical utility studies designed to support incorporation of BostonGene testing into national guidelines that could become national standards of care.

MD Anderson said that the collaboration will involve multi-parameter discovery, big data analytics, and computational support to advance and validate new diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers.

BostonGene noted that in addition to the research alliance, it recently entered into a laboratory services agreement with MD Anderson to offer BostonGene Tumor Portrait tests, available to physicians through the electronic medical records system for patients meeting test requirements.