Mammoth Biosciences announced a partnership with MilliporeSigma and Hamilton Company to commercialize its CRISPR-based SARS-CoV-2 test. The three companies say their collective effort can help increase testing capacity as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the globe.

The Detectre Boost SARS-CoV-2 assay is a nucleic acid test that uses CRISPR-based detection for high specificity and sensitivity. The companies plan for the test to use both nasal swab and saliva patient samples and run on Mammoth’s Detectre Boost platform, which can run 1,500 tests in an 8-hour span with minimal user interaction. The test will be contract manufactured by MilliporeSigma and will include automated liquid handling equipment manufactured by Hamilton Company to increase sample processing.

“In order to begin reopening more aspects of society, we’ll need a robust testing infrastructure that can rapidly scale up capacity as needed,” said Trevor Martin, co-founder and CEO of Mammoth Biosciences. “By combining CRISPR-based diagnostics with the proven manufacturing and product leadership of MilliporeSigma and Hamilton Company, we’re confident this solution will be a gamechanger for labs.”

Production for the Detectre Boost SARS-CoV-2 test will take place in MilliporeSigma’s Life Science Center in St. Louis and will be commercialized across the United States if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Centogene, Fujirebio Partner for Rapid Antigen Testing in Airports

Centogene and Fujirebio Europe have partnered to advance rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing in airports throughout Germany. Using Fujirebio’s Lumipulse G SARS-CoV-2 test on the Lumipulse G automated system, Centogene—which has laboratory centers in several airports—will administer the test to passengers and send results to their digital devices in 40 minutes.

Fujirebio’s Lumipulse G technology is a fully automated platform that can run 120 tests per hour. The Lumipulse G SARS-CoV-2 test is the first of its kind that uses a chemiluminescent platform. Currently, the SARS-CoV-2 test is being used by Japanese authorities to screen individuals when they return from travel. Through the deal, Centogene has partnered with Lufthansa airlines to provide testing for all passengers free of charge.

“With our test strategy, we are pursuing the goal of using the data obtained to collect important knowledge in dealing with antigen tests. We are convinced that it is the only right way to further expand the established test infrastructure at the airports.” said Christoph Leffers, head of task force testing for Lufthansa Group.

RGC, UCLA Advance in Whole Exome Sequencing Research

In an effort to advance personalized healthcare, UCLA Health and Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) have teamed to provide whole exome sequencing for UCLA Health patients.

Whole exome sequencing analyzes thousands of protein-coding genes which can help researchers pinpoint genetic abnormalities and potential changes in DNA sequences. UCLA will add on to RGC’s existing genetic database that pairs the sequenced exomes with the private health records of more than 1 million patients from health centers across the world. Ultimately, the database is intended to enable analysis of genetic factors that can influence diseases.

With UCLA’s healthcare expertise, the diversity of the health system’s population, and RGC’s genetic sequencing, the companies see a promising future for their work in genomic medicine.

“Genetic data that better represents the entirety of the human population will lead to better-informed treatment options for all people, which is why we continue to expand this unique drug discovery and development tool, while our collaborators utilize verified information in patients’ daily care,” said Aris Baras, MD, senior vice president and head of RGC.

UgenTec and MolGen Mate AI and Chemistry Platform for SARS-CoV-2 Test

UgenTec and MolGen announced a collaboration for an end-to-end SARS-CoV-2 test that analyzes a patient sample and provides results in 90 minutes.
The companies will combine UgenTec’s artificial intelligence-based software platform, FastFinder, with MolGen’s instrumentation and chemistry platform, PurePrep, to deliver a low-cost analysis with what the companies say will be highly accurate results.

Through MolGen’s PurePrep program, the companies will be able to efficiently transport samples from testing tubes to plates, then use the automated PurePrep 96 system to extract RNA for testing. UgenTec’s FastFinder platform will perform data analysis using its three leading products: FastFinder Analysis for interpreting data; FastFinder Workflow for sample and instrument tracking; and FastFinder Insights for monitoring metrics and instrument performance.

“As demand for testing is spiking, labs are under pressure to ramp up volumes with personnel under strain. More than ever, labs need rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing, but workflows that heavily rely on molecular biologists to manually call results just do not scale,” said Steven Verhoeven, CEO of UgenTec.

Both companies intend to begin commercialization of the test in the Netherlands and hope to expand production in other geographical areas. The partners have also mentioned expanding testing workflows to include other infectious diseases and oncology assays.

LabCorp, BML, Team for Companion Diagnostics Advances in Japan

LabCorp, which is increasingly focused on developing and commercializing companion diagnostics, and Bio Medical Laboratories (BML), a clinical diagnostic testing firm, have signed an agreement to increase development and delivery of companion diagnostics in Japan.

The partnership builds on a previously established relationship between the companies. Through LabCorp’s drug development business, Covance, BML, and LabCorp have collaborated on laboratory testing services for more than a decade and developed the Covance-BML Trial Laboratory to support drug development and clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies. The partners stated that they will begin developing clinical assays that target oncology and aim to expand commercialization of future assays through Covance.

“Our combined ability to bridge the time gaps between the development phase and drug approval through to national reimbursement, along with the benefit of having a centralized laboratory testing facility, gives our respective customers the advantage of early adoption of their drug. BML’s experience with local testing requirements, quality standards, and logistical expectations will ensure instant access to high-quality testing,” said Kensuke Kondo, MD, president of BML.