Shares of Bionano Genomics (BNGO -0.49%) surged 20.6% on Monday after the biotech company began its Next-Generation Cytogenomics Symposium, during which potential applications of its Saphyr optical genome mapping (OGM) system were discussed.
Bionano Genomics published a study that used Saphyr to identify structural variants (SVs) in genes that control immune and inflammatory responses. The results of the study could shed light on why COVID-19 causes some people to become severely ill.
The study analyzed the genomes of 37 people who were admitted to the intensive care unit at Augusta University with severe COVID-19. It found significant upregulation of the STK26 gene in all severely ill patients tested, which researchers believe could indicate the potential for the severe immune response sometimes seen in people with COVID-19.
"Our study shows clearly that many of the severely affected patients carry genetic variants that may cause or at least contribute to the severity of their disease by weakening the effectiveness of the immune response, increasing viral replication, or making it easier for the virus to spread between cells in the body," Dr. Ravindra Kolhe said in a press release.
Bionano Genomics is raising approximately $88 million via a stock offering expected to conclude on Jan. 12. These funds should help it continue to demonstrate the utility of its genetic testing system, particularly as it relates to COVID-19.
"While we are devastated by the loss of lives caused by this global pandemic, we are grateful that our genome analysis platform can contribute to a better understanding of the disease and possibly help save lives," Bionano CEO Erik Holmlin said.