Applied DNA Sciences Inc., of Stony Brook, N.Y., and Northwell Health have announced a pro bono material transfer agreement establishing a real-time surveillance program for the tracking and identification of SARS-CoV-2 mutations and variants of concern in Northwell’s COVID-positive specimens. Under the agreement, de-identified positive COVID-19 specimens supplied by Northwell are being screened for SARS-CoV-2 mutations found in currently known variants using Applied DNA’s Linea assay kit and Selective Genomic Surveillance mutation panel. Data generated from the program will enable Northwell to efficiently use next-generation sequencing to conclusively identify specific variants and their subsequent descendants. Aggregate data from the program that could influence vaccine or booster design, antibody therapies or drug development may be monetized by either party under a revenue-share structure.

Austin, Texas-based Astrotech Corp. subsidiary Breathtech Corp. and Cleveland Clinic have signed a joint development agreement to explore leveraging Astrotech’s Breathtest-1000 mass spectrometer to rapidly screen for COVID-19 or related indicators. The goal of the agreement is to develop a noninvasive device that will use breath samples to identify COVID-19 strains, with the potential to provide a low-cost, self-service screening option deployable on a large scale. The device will be developed to detect metabolites associated with respiratory disease and can potentially screen patients in as little as approximately 60 seconds. The joint team plans to open a clinical trial with the technology in the coming months.

Atai Life Sciences AG, a developer of compounds for mental health indications, has acquired a majority stake in Delaware-based Psyber Inc., a developer of brain computer interface (BCI)-enabled digital therapeutics. The acquisition is intended to enable EEG-based BCI development through a tailored software platform and a large patent portfolio, combined with Berlin and New York-based Atai's diverse compounds. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Johnson & Johnson Vision, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Nagoya, Japan-based contact lens manufacturer Menicon Co. Ltd. reported a strategic collaboration to develop a global portfolio of products and services to manage the progression of myopia in children. Menicon will develop and manufacture the contact lenses. J&J Vision will focus on expanding availability of the lenses worldwide.

Data lineage platform developer Manta, of Tampa, Fla., will embed graph database technology developed by San Mateo, Calif.-based Neo4j into its platform. The newly integrated technologies will be available to existing Manta customers later this year.

Westwood, Mass.-based electronic health record (EHR) vendor Medical Information Technology Inc. (Meditech) has launched Expanse Patient Connect, a bi-directional communications platform for health care providers and their patients. The platform uses EHR appointment data to automatically send patients routine reminders, instructions, and follow-up messages, powered by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Well Health, a developer of SaaS communications technology, and will enable patients to interact with their health care providers via text, phone, email, or live chat without downloading an app.

Austin, Texas-based Natera Inc. has implemented the first wave of its new Panorama AI algorithm for its Panorama NIPT test. The algorithm leverages enhanced probabilistic modeling and artificial intelligence-based technology and utilizes information from more than 2 million cfDNA tests performed by the company. The company said the improvements were validated in SMART, the largest prospective non-invasive pre-natal testing study ever conducted, with more than 20,000 enrolled patients.

Newomics Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based developer of mass spectrometry enhancement technology, has formed a North American direct sales team and has launched a flow splitting kit for its MnESI platform. The new kit converts a conventional analytical flow rate to a wide range of microflow rates (1-25 microliters per minute), allowing scientists to analyze samples without changing their current high flow liquid chromatography and column setups.

Kitchener, Ontario-based Nicoya Lifesciences Inc. is receiving additional advisory services and a second round of funding up to C$1,998,592 (US$1,585,209) from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program to continue research and development of its rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 Atlas single-use antigen test. Users will be able to self-administer the test with a saliva collection kit and smartphone application that will take under 20 minutes.

Quebec City-based coronary physiology technology developer Opsens Inc. has been awarded an Innovative Technology contract from health care improvement company Vizient Inc. Opsens said the contract was based on the recommendation of its Optowire III, a guidewire to diagnose and treat coronary disease, by hospital experts who serve on one of Irving, Texas-based Vizient's member-led councils.

Premier Medical Corp. Pvt. Ltd., of Sarigam, India, said it plans to submit its Sure Status COVID-19 Antigen Card Test to the U.S. FDA this month for inclusion in the emergency use authorization program.

Hilden, Germany-based Qiagen NV reported the launch of Qiaseq Direct SARS-CoV-2 Kit, a viral genome enrichment and library preparation solution that reduces library turnaround times and plastics use compared with Artic Network project protocols (primer-based approaches for next-generation sequencing).

Roche Group AG, of Basel, Switzerland, launched the Elecsys Anti-p53 immunoassay for the in vitro quantitative determination of anti-p53 antibodies in markets accepting the CE mark. This test is used to aid physicians to diagnose throat cancer, bowel cancer and breast cancer in patients, in conjunction with other diagnostic tests.

Titan Health & Security Technologies Inc., of Newport Beach, Calif., said it is expanding its services to provide COVID-19 tracing, population density monitoring, asset tracking and a vaccine passport. The platform is geared toward businesses, governments, schools, venues and stadiums looking to mitigate COVID-19 exposures and prevent outbreaks.