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Synthetic genetics company Twist Bioscience expects to go public this week, after raising around $280 million in venture capital funding.

What's new: Biotech giant Agilent, which previously employed Twist co-founder and CEO Emily Leproust, is seeking to make the IPO more difficult.

  • The two companies have been locked in litigation since early 2016, with Agilent claiming that Leproust stole trade secrets and improperly poached Agilent employees.
  • Twist has vigorously defended itself, insisting that its technology includes a key difference (namely the inclusion of silicone), and calling Agilent's lawsuit a baseless effort to “stifle innovation and competition."

Axios has learned that Agilent today plans to send a letter to the SEC, accusing Twist of making several false and misleading statements in its IPO filing documents. It also will ask the SEC to require Twist to make revisions.

  • Twist did file an amended S-1 document early this morning, but it did not seem to address any of Agilent's pending claims. For example, Twist says that Leproust co-founded and became CEO of the company in April 2013, but Agilent says that she acknowledged under oath to doing both more than a year earlier, while still employed at Agilent.

Bottom line: Twist has argued that Agilent is trying to disrupt its business. Agilent, by sending this letter just days before a scheduled IPO, is doing nothing to disabuse that notion — and holds more cards, given that there is no way for Twist to prove its case prior to pricing.

Go deeper

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

6 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.