Toronto-based Aquarius Surgical Technologies Inc. (ASTI) reported further developments following the announcement that Gordon Willox had been removed as a director and officer of Surgical Lasers Inc. (SLI), the principal operating subsidiary of ASTI. The company’s preliminary review of the financial records and inventory of SLI indicated there were irregularities in the operations of the Newmarket office and dealings with the inventory of SLI. The full extent of the irregular activity, and its ultimate impact on the business and operations of SLI cannot yet be established until an audit has been completed, the company said. In light of the need for an audit of all inventory movements and financial transactions within the operations of the Newmarket office of SLI since the beginning of the fiscal year that commenced on April 1, 2020, the company said it may not be possible to complete and file the interim unaudited financial statements, MD&A and officers' certificates for the period to Dec. 31, 2020, by the due date of March 1, 2021.

Tucson, Ariz.-based Htg Molecular Diagnostics Inc. completed its feasibility testing for a planned whole transcriptome panel using the Htg Edgeseq technology, and has released a follow-on whole transcriptome product white paper, regarding the performance of a prototype panel for multiple cancer indications compared to RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Htg is developing a whole transcriptome panel using the Htg Edgeseq technology to measure approximately 20,000 mRNA targets, with a planned research use only launch in the third quarter of 2021.

Daix, France-based Inventiva SA reported a collaboration in the field of NASH biomarkers with Jérôme Boursier, professor of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Angers University and a scientist in the area of noninvasive diagnosis of liver lesions in chronic liver diseases. The objective of the collaboration is to develop one or several biomarkers or a composite biomarker score to identify patients responding to lanifibranor with regards to NASH resolution and fibrosis improvement. Boursier and his team will use a multivariate statistical approach to finding a biomarker signature of lanifibranor in NASH treatment.

Materials and Machines Corp., of Lincoln, Neb., said a preliminary evaluation indicates that its COVID-19 2SF RNA test is capable of detecting more than 99.5% of 3,801 coronavirus variants reported worldwide to date. The company said it has not had to modify the test to ensure effectiveness against variants because it was developed specifically to identify a highly conserved gene within SARS-CoV-2. Materials and Machines’ COVID-19 test employs ‘padlock probes’ – small bits of DNA targeted with high specificity toward the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene, an essential gene for viral replication. Notably, the RdRp gene has not accumulated significant changes in any of the COVID-19 strains so far identified and analyzed by the company.

Mind Medicine Inc., of New York, completed its acquisition of New York-based Healthmode Inc. The transaction consisted of 81,497 voting shares of Mindmed plus approximately CA$286,000 (US$244,981) in cash. The shares were issued at a price of CA$385.87, equivalent to CA$3.8587 per underlying subordinate voting share. In conjunction with the acquisition, Healthmode co-founders Daniel Karlin and Bradford Cross have been named chief medical officer and chief technology officer of Mindmed, respectively. Healthmode, which specializes in using artificial intelligence-enabled digital measurements for clinical research and patient monitoring, will be incorporated into Albert, Mindmed's new digital medicine division.

Tokyo-based Olympus Corp. said it has exercised its option to purchase the remainder of shares in Medi-Tate Ltd., of Akiva, Israel, a manufacturer of devices for the minimally invasive treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The company’s flagship product, Itind, is U.S. FDA cleared and CE marked. The Japanese tech giant initially invested in Medi-Tate in 2018. The final acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, will help drive growth in Olympus’ global urology business, the company said.

San Francisco-based Picnichealth and the Wylder Nation Foundation, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., have teamed up advance research on acid sphingomyelinase deficiency (ASMD). Together, the entities are forming ASMD Accelerate to understand patient journeys documented in medical record data and translate them into an actionable, de-identified dataset to advance ASMD research. The collaboration is initially focused on chronic neurovisceral forms of ASMD, commonly referred to as Niemann-Pick disease type A and type A/B.

Sirtex Medical US Holdings Inc., of Woburn, Mass., said it has received positive guidance from the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) regarding the use of selection internal radiation therapy (SIRT) with SIR-Spheres Y-90 microspheres for the treatment of adults with unresectable advance hepatocellular carcinoma.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., of Waltham, Mass., has completed its acquisition of San Diego-based Mesa Biotech Inc., a privately held point-of-care molecular diagnostic company. Mesa Biotech will become part of the Life Sciences Solutions segment and is expected to add revenue of approximately $200 million in 2021. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Singapore-based Vela Diagnostics Pte. Ltd. reported the addition of Virokey SQ Flex SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping Assay and Virokey SARS-CoV-2 ID RT-PCR Test to its portfolio of COVID-19 testing solutions. The latter test, for research use only, is able to quickly identify variants in positive samples, including the U.K., South Africa and Brazil lineages. The variant identification test can be used in conjunction with the Virokey SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test v2.0, which has received U.S. FDA emergency use authorization, CE-IVD approval and authorization in Australia and Singapore.