Can Genetics Really Help You Lose Weight?

REBECCA KETTRIDGE | November 19, 2019 | 3 views

The latest research suggests your natural weight state could be inherited through genetics. A study published in January 2019 associates multiple gene locations both with obesity and healthy thinness, meaning changes at those locations could make you predisposed to a heavier or lighter natural weight. The study posits something many of you might have guessed from personal experience: Some people have an easier task maintaining their weight based on their genetics alone.

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BioFire Diagnostics, LLC

With more than 25 years of molecular experience and as bioMérieux’s Global Center of Excellence for Molecular Diagnostics, BioFire sets the standard for molecular diagnostics through its pioneering advances in syndromic infectious disease testing.

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MEDICAL

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | August 2, 2021

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology emphasizing the structure, editing, evolution, function, and mapping of genomes. It is creating deeper inroads across the precision health domain with the increasing introduction of advanced technologies such as quantum simulation, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and precise genome manipulation. As precision health focuses on providing the proper intervention to the right patient at the right time, genomics increasingly finds applications in human and pathogen genome sequencing in clinical and research spaces. Rising Hereditary Diseases Burden Paving the Way for Genomics in Precision Health In the last few years, a significant surge in the prevalence of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, baldness, and others has been witnessed across the globe. A history of family members with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing issues, and heart disease, can sometimes continue into the next generation. Hence, the study of genes is extensively being conducted for predicting health risks and early treatment of these diseases. It also finds use in CRISPR-based diagnostics and the preparation of precision medication for the individual. In addition, ongoing advancements in genomics are making it possible to identify different genetic traits that persuade people to more widespread diseases and health problems. The Emergence of Genomics Improves Disease Understanding Genomics refers to the study of the complete genetic makeup of a cell or organism. Increasing scientific research in the area substantially contributes to increasing knowledge about the human genome and assists in improving the ability to understand disease etiology, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. On account of these improvements, innovative genomic technologies and tools are being developed to enable better precision health not only for the individual but for various regional populations as well. The Way Forward With growing preference for personalized medicine and an increasing need for more accurate pathogen detection and diagnostics, genomics is gaining huge popularity across the precision health domain. Also, increasing research activities for developing novel high-precision therapeutics and rising importance of gene study in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infectious and genetic diseases will further pave the way for genomics in the forthcoming years.

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DIAGNOSTICS

Top 10 biotech IPOs in 2019

Article | April 20, 2021

The big question at the start of 2019 was whether the IPO window would stay open for biotech companies, particularly those seeking to pull off ever-larger IPOs at increasingly earlier stages of development. The short answer is yes—kind of. Here’s the long answer: In the words of Renaissance Capital, the IPO market had “a mostly good year.” The total number of deals fell to 159 from 192 the year before, but technology and healthcare companies were standout performers. The latter—which include biotech, medtech and diagnostics companies—led the pack, making up 43% of all IPOs in 2019. By Renaissance’s count, seven companies went public at valuations exceeding $1 billion, up from five the year before

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INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Cell Out? Lysate-Based Expression an Option for Personalized Meds

Article | January 20, 2021

Cell-free expression (CFE) is the practice of making a protein without using a living cell. In contrast with cell line-based methods, production is achieved using a fluid containing biological components extracted from a cell, i.e., a lysate. CFE offers potential advantages for biopharma according to Philip Probert, PhD, a senior scientist at the Centre for Process Innovation in the U.K.

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Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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Spotlight

BioFire Diagnostics, LLC

With more than 25 years of molecular experience and as bioMérieux’s Global Center of Excellence for Molecular Diagnostics, BioFire sets the standard for molecular diagnostics through its pioneering advances in syndromic infectious disease testing.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

MUSC and Helix launch In Our DNA SC, first-of-its-kind population genomics program to drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians

Helix | September 21, 2021

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Helix have announced a strategic collaboration to develop a first-of-its-kind population genomics initiative in South Carolina called In Our DNA SC. The large-scale program is designed to improve health care outcomes by integrating genetic insights into clinical care and research. The statewide initiative will enroll 100,000 patients in genetic testing over the next four years at no cost to the patient. The program will enable the use of genomic insights with an initial focus on actionable information regarding a patient's risk for certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The genetic reports will allow patients and their health providers to develop precision health care plans to proactively mitigate the conditions and take a more preventive approach to patient care. Patient enrollment in In Our DNA SC is expected to begin in the fall. Medical University of South Carolina and Helix to develop a first-of-its-kind genomics initiative called In Our DNA SC. In addition, MUSC and Helix will be developing a robust clinico-genomic dataset from consenting participants that will help researchers learn what can cause certain diseases, how we may be able to treat them more effectively and, possibly, improve the standard care for everyone. This is expected to lay the groundwork for a broader collaboration with other organizations across the health care value chain. As South Carolina's only comprehensive academic health sciences center, delivering the highest quality care throughout the state is our top priority. Precision medicine is an emerging field that is going to transform the future delivery of health care. Being a leader and helping to define this path is core to our mission. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Helix to deploy this first-of-its-kind population genomic program for our patients. This collaboration will help drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians. - David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president The strategic relationship with Helix allows MUSC to leverage Helix's unique Sequence Once, Query Often™ model and its end-to-end integration platform to enable immediate application and continual on-demand use of genetic insights throughout a patient's life. By working with South Carolina's only integrated academic health sciences center in the state, Helix gains access to thousands of providers and research staff dedicated to understanding how to deliver the highest quality patient care available to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Enrollment in the program will initially be available to patients who sign up at select MUSC clinics and locations, later expanding to participants throughout the community and state in collaboration with MUSC's clinical affiliates and partners. Additionally, participants who consent to securely contribute their genetic data will help MUSC develop one of the largest clinico-genomic datasets in the country. Analyses from this platform will be used to pioneer and further advance genomics research. About the Medical University of South Carolina Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state's only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safe patient care while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Close to 25,000 care team members provide care for patients at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and 5 additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina.MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care. About Helix Helix is the leading population genomics company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and genomics. Its end-to-end platform enables health systems, life sciences companies, and payers to advance genomic research and accelerate the integration of genomic data into clinical care. Powered by one of the world's largest CLIA / CAP next-generation sequencing labs and the first and only FDA authorized whole exome sequencing platform, Helix supports all aspects of population genomics including recruitment and engagement, clinically actionable disease screening, return of results, and basic and translational research. In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Helix has launched a sensitive and scalable end-to-end COVID-19 test system to meet the needs of health systems, employees, governments, and other organizations across the country.

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MEDTECH

Oracle and Oxford Nanopore Team Up to Improve Healthcare and Speed Discovery of New Medical Breakthroughs

Oracle | September 16, 2021

Advances in DNA/RNA sequencing promise to revolutionize how medical communities identify, detect, and treat diseases and manage public health threats. To make this technology more accessible and increase its impact, Oracle has teamed up with Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the company behind a new generation of high-performance, rapid, scalable, and accessible sequencing technology. Oracle and Oxford Nanopore have recently begun a collaboration to jointly explore several potential new solutions that would use genomic sequencing running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to help speed medical breakthroughs and improve patient care. Scientific researchers in more than 100 countries are already using nanopore sequencing to further their understanding of biology in a range of areas including human and cancer genetics as well as plant, animal, and environmental analyses. In addition, nanopore sequencing has been used for pathogen analysis, including the outbreak surveillance of tuberculosis, food-borne pathogens, Ebola, Zika, Lassa fever, dengue fever, influenza, and most recently COVID-19. As part of the collaboration, Oxford Nanopore will be using OCI in applied and clinical markets. Leveraging the high performance, security, and extensive reach of Oracle Cloud, Oracle and Oxford Nanopore will have the ability to extend population-scale genetic sequencing across the globe. The organizations will also take on several ambitious projects spanning epidemiology, whole-genome sequencing, and healthcare and drug discovery. This includes integrating Oxford Nanopore's DNA/RNA sequencing capabilities and data into Oracle's broad portfolio of healthcare and life sciences applications to strengthen the links between genomics, medical treatment, and drug development. Oxford Nanopore's innovative sequencing technology is unparalleled in the market for its ability to generate rich, accurate genomic data at any scale, from handheld devices to ultra-high output installations, By integrating genomic data into our existing applications and cloud infrastructure solutions, we can get these powerful tools into the hands of more people to solve critical health issues faster and improve patient outcomes to usher in a new era of genomic breakthrough. - Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Vertical Industries. In parallel, Oracle has committed to investing £150 million in Oxford Nanopore, subject to customary conditions. About Oracle Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.

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MEDICAL

Precision NanoSystems is Now a Part of Danaher's Life Sciences Platform

Cytiva, Pall Corporation | June 02, 2021

Danaher Corporation's Life Sciences platform has acquired precision NanoSystems (PNI). PNI is a global leader in technologies and solutions for developing genetic medicines, including mRNA vaccines and therapeutics. PNI will join Danaher's Life Sciences platform and complement other businesses in the forum, including Cytiva and Pall. "PNI has advanced several exciting innovations, and we're thrilled to welcome this talented team," says Emmanuel Ligner, Danaher Group Executive. "As mRNA has matured as a successful technology in some COVID vaccines, we see huge potential for this technology to accelerate other therapies. The work done thus far by the PNI team will also enable our customers at Cytiva and Pall to take a huge step forward in advancing their science to improve the lives of patients." James Taylor, co-founder, and CEO of Precision NanoSystems, says: "Over the last ten years, PNI has been a leading technology company, enabling the development of genetic medicines. Joining Danaher's Life Sciences platform allows our world-class team to accelerate and expand the work we do to support our customers with comprehensive technology platforms and the expertise to manufacture transformative medicines for the benefit of humanity. With the global reach of the Danaher Life Sciences platform and customers who are leaders in biotechnology, this is an incredible opportunity to bring PNI's innovations to market and expand our impact." The overall mRNA therapeutics and vaccines market was growing rapidly and accelerated with the development of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. It is anticipated that mRNA technology will be used to develop other vaccines and to treat other conditions of high unmet medical need, such as cancer and genetic diseases. At present, most mRNA therapies and other types of genetic medicines in clinical development are designed to be delivered with the help of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs). PNI's Genetic Medicine Toolkit, including its proprietary GenVoyTM LNP delivery platform and NanoAssemblrTM microfluidic-based nanoparticle manufacturing platform, enables the rapid development of genetic medicines. PNI's validated technologies increase the stability, efficacy, yield, and quality of non-viral genetic medication and lower the barrier to develop these essential medicines. PNI is developing a new center of manufacturing excellence in Vancouver, which will proceed as planned. When complete, the biomanufacturing center will further advance Canadian therapeutic and vaccine manufacturing capabilities, broaden the domestic life sciences sector, create new jobs in the region, and foster a new generation of scientific talent. About Pall Pall Corporation may be a filtration, separation, and purification leader providing solutions to meet customers' critical fluid management needs across the broad spectrum of life sciences and industry. Pall works with customers to advance health, safety, and environmentally responsible technologies. The Company's engineered products enable process and product innovation and minimize emissions and waste. Pall Corporation serves customers worldwide. About Cytiva Cytiva is a global life science leader with more than 8,000 associates across 40 countries dedicated to advancing and accelerating therapeutics. As a trusted partner to customers that range in scale and scope, Cytiva brings speed, efficiency, and capacity to research and manufacture workflows, enabling the development, manufacture, and delivery of transformative medicines to patients.

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CELL AND GENE THERAPY

MUSC and Helix launch In Our DNA SC, first-of-its-kind population genomics program to drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians

Helix | September 21, 2021

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Helix have announced a strategic collaboration to develop a first-of-its-kind population genomics initiative in South Carolina called In Our DNA SC. The large-scale program is designed to improve health care outcomes by integrating genetic insights into clinical care and research. The statewide initiative will enroll 100,000 patients in genetic testing over the next four years at no cost to the patient. The program will enable the use of genomic insights with an initial focus on actionable information regarding a patient's risk for certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The genetic reports will allow patients and their health providers to develop precision health care plans to proactively mitigate the conditions and take a more preventive approach to patient care. Patient enrollment in In Our DNA SC is expected to begin in the fall. Medical University of South Carolina and Helix to develop a first-of-its-kind genomics initiative called In Our DNA SC. In addition, MUSC and Helix will be developing a robust clinico-genomic dataset from consenting participants that will help researchers learn what can cause certain diseases, how we may be able to treat them more effectively and, possibly, improve the standard care for everyone. This is expected to lay the groundwork for a broader collaboration with other organizations across the health care value chain. As South Carolina's only comprehensive academic health sciences center, delivering the highest quality care throughout the state is our top priority. Precision medicine is an emerging field that is going to transform the future delivery of health care. Being a leader and helping to define this path is core to our mission. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Helix to deploy this first-of-its-kind population genomic program for our patients. This collaboration will help drive preventive, precision health care for South Carolinians. - David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president The strategic relationship with Helix allows MUSC to leverage Helix's unique Sequence Once, Query Often™ model and its end-to-end integration platform to enable immediate application and continual on-demand use of genetic insights throughout a patient's life. By working with South Carolina's only integrated academic health sciences center in the state, Helix gains access to thousands of providers and research staff dedicated to understanding how to deliver the highest quality patient care available to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Enrollment in the program will initially be available to patients who sign up at select MUSC clinics and locations, later expanding to participants throughout the community and state in collaboration with MUSC's clinical affiliates and partners. Additionally, participants who consent to securely contribute their genetic data will help MUSC develop one of the largest clinico-genomic datasets in the country. Analyses from this platform will be used to pioneer and further advance genomics research. About the Medical University of South Carolina Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state's only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safe patient care while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Close to 25,000 care team members provide care for patients at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and 5 additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina.MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care. About Helix Helix is the leading population genomics company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and genomics. Its end-to-end platform enables health systems, life sciences companies, and payers to advance genomic research and accelerate the integration of genomic data into clinical care. Powered by one of the world's largest CLIA / CAP next-generation sequencing labs and the first and only FDA authorized whole exome sequencing platform, Helix supports all aspects of population genomics including recruitment and engagement, clinically actionable disease screening, return of results, and basic and translational research. In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Helix has launched a sensitive and scalable end-to-end COVID-19 test system to meet the needs of health systems, employees, governments, and other organizations across the country.

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MEDTECH

Oracle and Oxford Nanopore Team Up to Improve Healthcare and Speed Discovery of New Medical Breakthroughs

Oracle | September 16, 2021

Advances in DNA/RNA sequencing promise to revolutionize how medical communities identify, detect, and treat diseases and manage public health threats. To make this technology more accessible and increase its impact, Oracle has teamed up with Oxford Nanopore Technologies, the company behind a new generation of high-performance, rapid, scalable, and accessible sequencing technology. Oracle and Oxford Nanopore have recently begun a collaboration to jointly explore several potential new solutions that would use genomic sequencing running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to help speed medical breakthroughs and improve patient care. Scientific researchers in more than 100 countries are already using nanopore sequencing to further their understanding of biology in a range of areas including human and cancer genetics as well as plant, animal, and environmental analyses. In addition, nanopore sequencing has been used for pathogen analysis, including the outbreak surveillance of tuberculosis, food-borne pathogens, Ebola, Zika, Lassa fever, dengue fever, influenza, and most recently COVID-19. As part of the collaboration, Oxford Nanopore will be using OCI in applied and clinical markets. Leveraging the high performance, security, and extensive reach of Oracle Cloud, Oracle and Oxford Nanopore will have the ability to extend population-scale genetic sequencing across the globe. The organizations will also take on several ambitious projects spanning epidemiology, whole-genome sequencing, and healthcare and drug discovery. This includes integrating Oxford Nanopore's DNA/RNA sequencing capabilities and data into Oracle's broad portfolio of healthcare and life sciences applications to strengthen the links between genomics, medical treatment, and drug development. Oxford Nanopore's innovative sequencing technology is unparalleled in the market for its ability to generate rich, accurate genomic data at any scale, from handheld devices to ultra-high output installations, By integrating genomic data into our existing applications and cloud infrastructure solutions, we can get these powerful tools into the hands of more people to solve critical health issues faster and improve patient outcomes to usher in a new era of genomic breakthrough. - Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Vertical Industries. In parallel, Oracle has committed to investing £150 million in Oxford Nanopore, subject to customary conditions. About Oracle Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.

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MEDICAL

Precision NanoSystems is Now a Part of Danaher's Life Sciences Platform

Cytiva, Pall Corporation | June 02, 2021

Danaher Corporation's Life Sciences platform has acquired precision NanoSystems (PNI). PNI is a global leader in technologies and solutions for developing genetic medicines, including mRNA vaccines and therapeutics. PNI will join Danaher's Life Sciences platform and complement other businesses in the forum, including Cytiva and Pall. "PNI has advanced several exciting innovations, and we're thrilled to welcome this talented team," says Emmanuel Ligner, Danaher Group Executive. "As mRNA has matured as a successful technology in some COVID vaccines, we see huge potential for this technology to accelerate other therapies. The work done thus far by the PNI team will also enable our customers at Cytiva and Pall to take a huge step forward in advancing their science to improve the lives of patients." James Taylor, co-founder, and CEO of Precision NanoSystems, says: "Over the last ten years, PNI has been a leading technology company, enabling the development of genetic medicines. Joining Danaher's Life Sciences platform allows our world-class team to accelerate and expand the work we do to support our customers with comprehensive technology platforms and the expertise to manufacture transformative medicines for the benefit of humanity. With the global reach of the Danaher Life Sciences platform and customers who are leaders in biotechnology, this is an incredible opportunity to bring PNI's innovations to market and expand our impact." The overall mRNA therapeutics and vaccines market was growing rapidly and accelerated with the development of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. It is anticipated that mRNA technology will be used to develop other vaccines and to treat other conditions of high unmet medical need, such as cancer and genetic diseases. At present, most mRNA therapies and other types of genetic medicines in clinical development are designed to be delivered with the help of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs). PNI's Genetic Medicine Toolkit, including its proprietary GenVoyTM LNP delivery platform and NanoAssemblrTM microfluidic-based nanoparticle manufacturing platform, enables the rapid development of genetic medicines. PNI's validated technologies increase the stability, efficacy, yield, and quality of non-viral genetic medication and lower the barrier to develop these essential medicines. PNI is developing a new center of manufacturing excellence in Vancouver, which will proceed as planned. When complete, the biomanufacturing center will further advance Canadian therapeutic and vaccine manufacturing capabilities, broaden the domestic life sciences sector, create new jobs in the region, and foster a new generation of scientific talent. About Pall Pall Corporation may be a filtration, separation, and purification leader providing solutions to meet customers' critical fluid management needs across the broad spectrum of life sciences and industry. Pall works with customers to advance health, safety, and environmentally responsible technologies. The Company's engineered products enable process and product innovation and minimize emissions and waste. Pall Corporation serves customers worldwide. About Cytiva Cytiva is a global life science leader with more than 8,000 associates across 40 countries dedicated to advancing and accelerating therapeutics. As a trusted partner to customers that range in scale and scope, Cytiva brings speed, efficiency, and capacity to research and manufacture workflows, enabling the development, manufacture, and delivery of transformative medicines to patients.

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