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Industry News in Genomics, Genetics, Precision Medicine, and Beyond

Find here a listing of the latest industry news in genomics, genetics, precision medicine, and beyond. We will update and add to this page on a regular basis. This page is not a compilation of all relevant information but rather contains some key highlights that we consider to be of importance to share with the community.

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News for the month of September 2021

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

  • COVID Deaths Surpass 1918 Flu Deaths With a national population of around 103 million people at that time — about a third of the current total of 330 million Americans — the 1918 pandemic killed roughly 1 in 150 people in the U.S.; COVID has killed 1 in 500 Americans.

Funding

Genomic / Genetic Testing

NGS / Genomics Platforms

CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

  • Federated learning for predicting clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 Data from 20 institutes across the globe was used to train a FL model, called EXAM (electronic medical record (EMR) chest X-ray AI model), that predicts the future oxygen requirements of symptomatic patients with COVID-19 using inputs of vital signs, laboratory data and chest X-rays. The EXAM model was trained using a cohort of 16,148 cases, making it among the first FL models for COVID-19 but also a very large and multi-continent development project in clinically relevant AI,

RWE / RWD

  • BC Platforms to Enable Longitudinal RWD and Genomics Access for Drug Development in Africa BC Platforms engages in a new collaboration with the African Institute of Everyone Genome (AiEG), a South African genomic company focusing on building the largest integrated clinical and genomics data biobank in the African continent. As part of the collaboration, BCP’s platform will enable RWD research involving 10M+ consenting patient genomes from all 54 African countries, to be collected by AiEG over a period of 10-15 years.

Liquid Biopsy / MRD

Proteomics

Miscellaneous

Publications

News for the month of August 2021

August brought several acquisitions in the sector: Fulgent Genetics acquired CSI Laboratories to expand its presence in the somatic molecular diagnostic and cancer testing market, Sanofi will purchase Translate Bio with its mRNA Technology for $3.2B, ProPhase Labs acquired Nebula Genomics for ~$14.6MHibercell acquired Genuity Science, and Illumina announced the acquisition of GRAiL. The latter came after the EU antitrust regulators’ decision to temporarily suspend their investigation into Illumina’s planned purchase – while Illumina was ordered to provide additional data. This in turn resulted in the EU Commission to initiate an investigating whether Illumina has breached its standstill obligation before EU’s antitrust approval in advance of closing any merger deals. 
Additionally, the COVID highlights for the month of August included the Biden administration’s recommendation for booster shots for most Americans, now as early as 5 months after the primary immunization based on new data from Israel.

This August news update has been sponsored by:

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

NGS / Genomics Platforms

Genomic / Genetic Testing

Single Cell / Spatial Genomics

CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

Miscellaneous

Publications

News for the month of July 2021

During the month of July the Delta virus has been tightening its grip both in the U.S. and other parts of the world, mostly due to its highly contagious nature, prompting the CDC to change its mask guidance with the recommendation for vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors again in regions with high infection rates.
On the opposite note, July also brought some exciting scientific development with DeepMind, in partnership with EMBL-EBI, announcing that they plan to release the predictive structure of all proteins known. Amazing how science has changed over the last few years as we are starting to take full advantage of what artificial intelligence has to offer. Even just the potential for drug discovery and development are tremendous. In other news: Sema4 (NASDAQ:SMFR)SOPHiA Genetics (NASDAQ:SOPH), and Caribou Biosciences (NASDAQ:CRBU) debut on the Nasdaq, and sequencing of 640,000 exomes resulted in the identification of mutations associated with protection from obesity.

This July news update has been sponsored by:

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

NGS / Genomics Platforms

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing

Single Cell / Spatial Genomics

Miscellaneous

Publications

News for the month of June 2021

Over the month of June a new normal has been developing in some areas of the world where a significant proportion of the population is now vaccinated, while at the same time the highly transmissible delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is putting parts of Europe, North America, and Africa on alert, in some cases already delaying the full reopening of some societies like in the UK. In other developments, some good news reveal that a vaccination with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine may ward off COVID-19 for years and not just months, And yet again, the scare of a third wave is prevalent in some countries.
During the month of June we also saw the marketing clearance of the much debated Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, by the FDA which resulted in the resignation of three FDA advisers due to the fact that the approval was based on incomplete or unpublished data.

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

Genomic / Genetic Testing

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

Liquid Biopsy

CRISPR / Cas9 Genome Editing

Single Cell / Spatial Genomics

Miscellaneous

Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm

Publications

News for the month of May 2021

May brought interesting funding rounds:  Causaly raised $17M (Series A), Bluestart Genomics $70M (Series C), GenapSys $70M (Series D), while Singular Genomics is seeking an IPO and Ginkgo Bioworks is coming to market via a SPAC. Additional May highlights included: ACMG has released an updated policy statement and gene list for the reporting of secondary findings (SF)Aetion, Flatiron Health, IQVIA, Syapse, and Tempus launched a RWE alliance, and the Senate weighs investing $120 Billion in Science to bolster the United States’ ability to compete with China.

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing

Genomic / Genetic Testing

Single Cell / Spatial Genomics

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

RWE / RWD

Miscellaneous

Publication

News for the month of April 2021

Some of the April highlights included: Israel’s COVID deaths hit zero with almost 60% of its population being vaccinated; the FDA and CDC lifted the recommended pause on J&J COVID vaccine use following thorough safety review after a two weeks pause due to safety concerns; Illumina filed action for annulment of European Commissions’ decision asserting jurisdiction to review the acquisition of GRAIL; and Geisinger was awarded $3.6M to study genetics of cancer.

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

NGS / Genomics Platforms

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing

Genomic / Genetic Testing

Liquid Biopsy

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

Miscellaneous

Publications

News for the month of March 2021

The March highlights were across all areas of genomics and precision medicine and included: Spatial transcriptomics taking – yet again – center stage at the annual AGBT conference; the FTC challenging Illumina’s proposed acquisition of cancer detection test maker GrailInsightful Science acquiring Dotmatics (the deal is valued at $690M USD); Roche acquiring GenMark Diagnostics in a $1.8B deal; the SEC charging uBiome co-founders with $60M fraud; and machine learning-driven drug discovery and development raising $400M (Insitro Series C round).  

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing

Spatial Transcriptomics

Real-World Data / Real-World Evidence

Liquid Biopsy

Miscellaneous

Publications

News for the month of February 2021

February brought on an interesting series of SPACs in the genomics sector – if you are not familiar with this term, it means Special Purpose Acquisition Company which translates into a company going public via a merger. 23andMe, Nautilus Biotechnology, and Sema4 all went public via a SPAC. 23andMe merged with Virgin Groups VG Acquisition Corp [the business combination values 23andMe at an enterprise value of ~$3.5B], Nautilus Biotechnology merged with Arya Sciences Acquisition Corp III [the combined company is expected to receive proceeds of approximately $350M at the closing of the transaction], while Sema4 combined with CM Life Sciences [the combined company is expected to receive proceeds of up to ~$793M at the closing of the transaction, up to $343M of which will be paid to Sema4 stockholders and the remainder of which will be utilized by Sema4 for its business to be operated under the same Sema4 management team].

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

Funding

Mergers & Acquisitions

Precision Medicine

Genomic / Genetic Testing

NGS / Genomics Platforms

Liquid Biopsy

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

Immunotherapy

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing 

Miscellaneous

Publication

News for the month of January 2021

During the month of January, attention was primarily directed towards the new SARS-CoV-2 variants (especially the ones that emerged from the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil). We’ve learned that these new variants have been more transmissible compared to the original virus, resulting in greater danger of risk of higher numbers in hospitalizations and deaths. In hopes of expanding the country’s surveillance to detect and characterize emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 Illumina and Helix started a collaboration to augment national surveillance infrastructure, while Quest Diagnostics was granted a CDC contract to sequence COVID-19 gene variants to identify new mutations and patterns of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Other notable developments include announcements that took place during the JP Morgan Healthcare conference, such as the multi-year PacBio-Invitae collaboration to develop a production-scale, high-throughput clinical whole genome sequencing platform leveraging the power of PacBio’s HiFi sequencing technology, as well as Illumina’s launch of Illumina Connected Analytics (ICA), a cloud-based platform for multi-omics data exploration, coupled with machine learning, and tertiary analysis tools which harnesses the DRAGEN Bio-IT Platform (acquired in 2018) and BlueBee technology (acquired in 2020). 

COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2

For more in-depth reading, our compiled COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 news page lists selected coronavirus/COVID-19 news.

Funding

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Precision Medicine

Genomic / Genetic Testing

NGS / Genomics Platforms

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing 

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning

Microbiome

Miscellaneous

Publications

Following are archived industry news

Industry News – 2020

Industry News – 2019

Industry News – 2018

Industry News – 2017

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