LONDON – Cumulus Neuroscience Ltd. has raised £6 million (US$8.3 million) to advance development of its home use wearable headset for tracking response to treatment in clinical trials in psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
LONDON – Neogenomics Inc. reported it plans to acquire Inivata Ltd., taking up a $390 million fixed price option to purchase the liquid biopsy specialist eight months early. The option was agreed to in May 2020, when Neogenomics made a $25 million minority equity investment in Inivata and was granted the right to acquire the rest of the company by the end of 2021.
Prenetics Ltd. is working with Oxford University researchers again to develop molecular diagnostic testing for the new COVID-19 variants, six months after it acquired Oxsed Ltd., a University of Oxford University spinoff to enable rapid airport testing. On April 19, Hong Kong-based Prenetics inked a multimillion-dollar partnership with the University of Oxford and Oxford Suzhou Center for Advanced Research (OSCAR) to upgrade the molecular testing technology Oxlamp for infectious diseases.
LONDON – A large scale prospective study has shown that increased blood plasma viscosity is correlated with disease severity and the likelihood of progression to organ failure, in patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 infections. Researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, U.K. suggest this could be an easy but sensitive way to quickly triage patients admitted to hospital with symptoms of COVID-19.
LONDON – New research shows it is possible to diagnose Parkinson’s disease by mass spectrometry analysis of sebum samples taken with a simple skin swab, and that the same technique has potential to be used for diagnosing COVID-19. In a paper published in Nature Communications on March 11, 2021, scientists and clinicians in the U.K. and the Netherlands describe using high resolution mass spectrometry to profile the chemical signature of lipids and other biomarkers in sebum from Parkinson’s patients and show how these exhibit subtle but fundamental changes as the disease progresses.
LONDON – The National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. has agreed to reimburse Zolgensma, the one-off gene therapy treatment for spinal muscular atrophy billed as the most expensive drug in the world, after a confidential deal was struck with Novartis Gene Therapies.
If the SARS-CoV-2 virus has achieved anything useful in the world of in vitro diagnostics, it’s that the associated pandemic has shone a bright and unsparing light on the respective merits of diagnostic and surveillance testing. Harvard University’s Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology, was one of several academic researchers who took up the gauntlet yet again in opposition to what they characterized as a gross misunderstanding of the respective roles of these types of tests, a misunderstanding they said must be addressed if the pandemic is to be corralled.
LONDON – It began life as a legal tidy-up of post-Brexit regulatory issues, but the Medicines and Medical Devices bill that emerged from its final reading last week is in a significantly different form. Most notably, the bill legislates for the creation of a national register of all implantable medical devices and the appointment of a patient safety commissioner to act a single port of call and advocate for patients when devices fail.
LONDON – Abingworth has cast off Brexit and pandemic woes to close its latest fund, Bioventures 8 at $465 million, exceeding the target of $375 million by a significant margin, and closing its hard cap.
LONDON – The U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new advice on how and when artificial intelligence (AI) could be applied to the interpretation of mammograms and chest computer tomography images, in a move that is intended to set the ground rules for the uptake of these technologies. In population breast screening, NICE looked at how five AI systems could be used to pick out mammography images that need further assessment, supporting qualified radiologists in their interpretation.