Diagnostics Deals

Pandemic Infuses New Urgency Into Effort to Develop Genomics-Based Early PTSD Detection Diagnostics

In addition to death and dislocation, the global COVID-19 pandemic is likely to spawn a crisis in mental health, including a spike in post-traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD) cases. With this in mind, a pair of diagnostic firms—one in genomics and the other in AI—have teamed up to develop new biomarkers and methodologies that can be used for early detection of the condition.

The Partners

The current survey-based methods of early PTSD identification tend to be subjective and biased due to the stigma associated with the condition. Recognizing the need for unbiased genomic and data-driven technologies, TruGenomix, a Maryland-based developer of next-generation-based genomic tests for PTSD formed by a pair of military veterans steeped in behavioral health research, entered into talks with BlueBee, the California-based provider of a rapidly configurable omics data platform, about collaborating to create a biomarker-based risk assessment for early PTSD identification. When the pandemic hit, it infused the project with a new sense of urgency.

The Partnership

On May 20, the companies announced their new strategic partnership. The plan calls for combining BlueBee’s expertise in AI and optimizing data flow with TruGenomix’s PTSD genomics data and analytics. Specifically, the partners will leverage BlueBee’s platform to aggregate, train and model DNA, RNA and methylation data alongside patient data and metadata from TruGenomix.

The End Game

The ambitions behind the collaboration are huge. TruGenomix and BlueBee have set out to fuse genomics and digital technology to revolutionize behavioral healthcare by speeding up insight generation and laying the foundation for an industrial-scale, clinical-grade data operation that can be applied not only to PTSD but other conditions. “For something as complex as human behavioral and mental health, a data strategy must be at the core of R&D,” noted TruGenomix co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Tshaka Cunningham in a statement.

Here’s a summary of other key strategic diagnostic deals announced in May 2020:

Partner 1 Partner(s) 2+ Deal Summary
Bio-Techne Mount Sinai Health System
  • Objective: Produce and distribute Mount Sinai SARS-CoV-2 serology testing kit
  • Dynamic: Bio-Techne to collaborate with Kantaro Biosciences, a joint venture of Mount Sinai and Renalytix AI
Thermo Fisher Scientific WuXi Diagnostics
Mayo Clinic
  • Objective: Develop COVID-19 total antibody test
  • Dynamic: Mayo Clinic clinically evaluating Thermo Scientific OmniPath COVID-19 Total Antibody ELISA test to run on open instrument platform for diagnosis of COVID-19 during acute and recovery stages
Ambry Genetics Volpara Health Technologies
  • Objective: Link Volpara’s cancer screening and practice management platform with Ambry Genetics’ program for identifying high-risk breast cancer patients
  • Dynamic: Volpara Aspen Breast software to include online ordering process for Ambry genetic tests
  • Volpara Density software for assessing volumetric breast density to be included in Ambry’s Comprehensive, Assessment, Risk, and Education (CARE) program
Genetron Health Darui Biotechnology
  • Objective: Develop pathogenic microorganism detection products on Genetron sequencer
  • Dynamic: Detection kits to run on Genetron S5 next-generation sequencer
  • Genetron to help Darui seek regulatory registration of its reagent kits
Proteomedix Dynex Technologies
  • Objective: Develop automated workflows for Proteomedix’s Proclarix prostate cancer test
  • Dynamic: Proteomedix to sell Proclarix with the Dynex instrumentation on which test was clinically validated
  • Make protocols for test available for Dynex DS2 and Agility platforms
Bayer ArcherDX
  • Objective: Broaden patient access to comprehensive genomic testing that includes NTRK1, NTRK2 and NTRK3 gene fusions and improve identification of treatment options for patients with TRK fusion cancer
  • Dynamic: Develop NGS-based companion diagnostic test for Bayer’s Vitrakvi (larotrectinib)
Bayer OrigiMed
  • Objective: Develop NGS-based companion diagnostic for cancer drug larotrectinib (Vitrakvi) for Chinese market
Mologic BioSure
  • Objective: Develop SARS-CoV-2 antibody self-test
  • Dynamic: Test to combine Mologic’s lateral flow assay with BioSure’s self-test design
CareDx Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Objective: Develop urine-based gene expression test for acute cellular rejection in kidney transplant recipients called UroMap
  • Dynamic: Multiyear exclusive research collaboration with Weill Cornell to have exclusive rights to provide UroMap, which is based on technology licensed from Cornell Medicine, to patients
Roswell Biotechnologies Imec
  • Objective: Develop biosensor chips for use in molecular testing and DNA storage
  • Dynamic: Key proof-of-concept work already successfully completed and products to become available in 2021
Avrobio Saladax Biomedical
  • Objective: Develop automated nanoparticle immunoassay kit for busulfan therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM)
  • Dynamic: Saladax developing a blood-based assay kit
  • Avrobio to provide funding to support development of  assay, but Saladax to retain all product rights
Avacta Adeptrix
  • Objective: Develop high-throughput COVID-19 antigen test
  • Dynamic: Test to test that combine Avacta’s Affimer-based antigens that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus with Adeptrix’s bead-assisted mass spectrometry (BAMS) platform
  • Avacta to receive royalty on Adeptrix’s sales of test kits
Property Owner Distributor Deal Summary
Veracyte CareDx
  • Products: Solid organ transplant rejection tests on Veracyte’s nCounter Flex Analysis diagnostic platform
  • Territory: Worldwide
  • Exclusive
Ubiquitome DiethelmKellerSiberHegner (DKSH)
  • Products: Ubiquitome’s Liberty 16 mobile PCR-based COVID-19 testing platform Liberty16
  • Territory: Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Exclusive
Chembio Diagnostics Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Products: Chembio’s DPP COVID-19 System
  • Territory: US
  • Non-exclusive
EKF Diagnostics Tosoh Europe
  • Products: EKF’s point-of-care Quo-Test HbA1c analyzer
  • Territory: Middle East and Africa
  • 3-year deal
Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Scientle Innovations
  • Products: Sienna’s hTERT test for bladder cancer
  • Territory: New Zealand
  • Exclusive
NG Biotech Eurobio Scientific
  • Products: Eurobio’s NG Biotech’s COVID-19 NG-Test IgG-IgM rapid serology test
  • Territory: France
Osang Healthcare SG Blocks
  • Products: Osang’s GeneFinder COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit
  • Territory: US
  • Non-exclusive, 1-year deal
Spartan Bio Cardinal Health
  • Products: Spartan’s CYP2C19 assay
  • Territory: US
Quest Diagnostics Centene
  • Products: 25,000 Quest rRT-PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 test kits per week
  • Territory: Federally Qualified Health Centers in 10 US states or districts
Licensor Licensee Deal Summary
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Quanterix
  • Quanterix acquires non-exclusive rights to use SARS-CoV-2 serology test on its Simoa multiplex immunoassay platform
Supplier/Servicer Client/User Deal Summary
Quotient Hvivo
  • Quotient to supply its SARS-CoV-2 antibody microarray test to UK-based contract research organization for use in viral challenge studies

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