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Walgreens, Freenome Partnership, New AI Products, More

June 29, 2023 | Walgreens and Freenome team up for clinical studies, Illumina launches new disease-predicting AI tool, and Seqera Labs has partnered with Genomics England. Plus, new products from Thermo Fisher, Revvity, more.  


Walgreens and Freenome announced a multi-year relationship to advance clinical studies of Freenome’s blood-based tests for the early detection of cancer. Walgreens will combine its national footprint, patient insights, compliant recruitment technology and local infrastructure to engage diverse patient populations in Freenome’s multi-cancer research program. Working together with technology provider Curebase, Walgreens will initially recruit patients across diverse populations for Freenome’s Sanderson Study, which aims to evaluate blood-based early detection tests for multiple cancers. Using Curebase’s platform, Walgreens will deliver targeted outreach to potentially eligible patients and caregivers of all backgrounds via text, email or in-person consultation at the pharmacy. After completing a pre-screen, eligible patients are invited to enroll in the study. Walgreens healthcare providers will then perform a single blood draw at one of the company’s clinical trial locations and conduct a telehealth patient follow-up one year after their participation. Walgreens and Freenome will also work together on building risk-prediction models and population health software. The aim is to help close existing care gaps and identify people who are eligible and stand to benefit from standard-of-care cancer detection testing. Press release.  

Complete Genomics announced new partnerships among other announcements for its 18th anniversary. Complete Genomics is partnering with Invivoscribe, a San Diego based-vertically-integrated biotechnology company, that will develop biomarker tests on DNBSEQ-G99RS platforms for oncology and cancer research. Complete Genomics also announced a pairing of its sequencing platform DNBSEQ-T7RS with AccuraGen’s proprietary assay technology. Press release.  

Myriad Genetics announced an agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to support research focused on metastatic renal cell carcinoma treatment selection and response. The project will use Myriad’s minimal residual disease (MRD) testing platform, a tumor-informed high-definition assay that detects circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Myriad is working together with Chad Tang, MD and Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD at MD Anderson. The research team will investigate the use of Myriad’s MRD testing platform as a non-invasive tool to inform treatment selection, surveillance, and radiotherapy treatment response in individuals with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). There currently is a lack of non-invasive testing platforms available for RCC, and MRD tests based on exome sequencing of the tumor may not track enough variants to be sufficiently sensitive. The goal of this research is to determine if patients with RCC will benefit from a comprehensive genome-wide approach to MRD with this platform. Press release.  

Thermo Fisher Scientific unveiled the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Astral mass spectrometer. The new Astral analyzer combines fast throughput, high sensitivity and deep proteome coverage to allow researchers worldwide to uncover proteins that previously evaded detection and make breakthrough discoveries more efficiently than ever. Researchers can use this information to identify new clinical biomarkers, reveal diseases earlier and develop new interventions for everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Press release.  

Pangaea Data has been awarded a strategic partnership by the newly established Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre (M-RIC). M-RIC will be applying Pangaea’s product to characterize patients across hard-to-diagnose mental health conditions and discover new clinically actionable intelligence, which will help to find more undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and miscoded patients. Press release.  

Avacta Group PLC has acquired Coris Bioconcept SRL for an upfront cash consideration of £7.4 million (on a debt-free/cash-free basis and subject to customary working capital adjustments), with an earnout based on future business performance, payable in cash, of up to £3.0 million. Coris, based in Gembloux, Belgium, and established in 1996, develops, manufactures, and markets rapid diagnostic test kits, mainly lateral flow tests, for use by healthcare professionals. Coris is ISO 13485 certified and markets its products through distributors in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania. Coris’ product portfolio comprises diagnostic tests for respiratory, gastro-enteric and blood-borne pathogens (bacteria, viruses and parasites) and for the detection of antibiotic resistance markers. As part of this portfolio, Coris markets a COVID-19 lateral flow test. Avacta has taken the commercial decision to halt the redevelopment of its own AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow test. Press release.  

Illumina announced the new PrimateAI-3D, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that predicts with unprecedented accuracy disease-causing genetic mutations in patients. The results are published in two papers in the June 2 issue of Science, detailing the training of the algorithm and its application to half a million genomes in the UK Biobank cohort. Two accompanying papers on the primate evolution research that informed the development of PrimateAI-3D also published in the journal today. Press release.  

Revvity’s EUROIMMUN business has launched the UNIQO 160 (CE-IVDR), an automated indirect immunofluorescence test (IIFT) system for autoimmune disease diagnostics. Now available in countries accepting the CE mark, this all-in-one solution increases the efficiency of the entire IIFT process, encompassing sample preparation, incubation, washing and mounting of slides as well as image acquisition and analysis. Press release.  

Mission Bio announced breakthrough improvements to the Tapestri Platform and its core chemistry that enable highly confident detection of rare cells for a range of applications. With Tapestri v3 chemistry, researchers can discover tiny numbers of single cells that, until now, easily escaped detection and influenced disease in invisible ways. At the same time, drug developers can use the new capabilities for a more complete understanding of their advanced therapies, potentially leading to safer, more effective medicines. Tapestri’s new capabilities also hold promise for cell and gene therapy developers looking to improve quality assessment throughout the therapy development process. Press release.  

Speedata announced the results of a simulation of its Analytics Processing Unit (APU) on a compound similarity analysis workload in the pharmaceutical industry. Using the APU, the analysis was completed in 19 minutes, compared to 90 hours when using a CPU—a 280x faster result. Speedata's APU alleviates the main bottlenecks of data analytics, significantly improving the speed and performance when analyzing such workloads, dramatically reducing costs and increasing efficiency. The APU's unique architecture is compatible with all legacy software, allowing for seamless migration of workloads, with no changes necessary to an enterprise's code or existing framework. Press release

Seqera Labs has partnered with Genomics England. The new collaboration between Seqera Labs and Genomics England will enable whole genome analysis to be carried out at a larger scale with greater efficiency, helping more patients benefit from genomic healthcare and equipping researchers with extra data to find the causes of disease and develop new treatments. The partnership with Seqera Labs will scale Genomics England’s capacity to develop models for disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment response. Genomics England will deploy Seqera Labs’ Nextflow Tower, an intuitive, centralised command post that enables large-scale collaborative data analysis. With Tower, Genomics England will be able to quickly launch, manage, and monitor scalable data analysis pipelines within the cloud. Press release.  

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