American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
February 2007 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

February 2007: Volume 33, Number 2

Siemens Finalizes Acquisition of Bayer's Diagnostic Division
As of January 1, Bayer Diagnostics and Diagnostic Products Corporation are now merged into a single business unit. The new entity, Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. (Tarrytown, N.Y.). The new business unit employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, and will hold the number two position in the worldwide immunodiagnostics market. “Siemens is the world's only full-service diagnostics company—bringing together for the first time a unique set of products and services that will speed the development of molecular medicine capabilities and improve the efficiency and quality of health care,” said Erich Reinhardt, CEO of Siemens Medical Solutions. “Siemens has anticipated the convergence of social, economic, and political challenges facing the health care industry, and we alone have responded and developed this comprehensive portfolio of innovative solutions, from medial imaging and health care IT, to management consulting and, now, laboratory diagnostics.”
P&G and Inverness Strike Deal on Home Diagnostic Kits
Consumer products conglomerate Proctor & Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Inverness Medical Innovations (Waltham, Mass.) signed an agreement forming a joint venture to sell home pregnancy and fertility diagnostic kits. Under the agreement, P&G will pay $325 million to Inverness and will leverage its distribution and marketing clout to sell consumer test kits made by the diagnostic company, including Clearblue, Accu-Clear, and Fact Plus, as well as future products. The companies will equally own the new venture, which will not include medical products for diagnosing diabetes or heart disease. Inverness officials said the deal would push the growth of its business.
Veridex Licenses Urine-based Prostate Cancer Test
The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Veridex LLC (Warren, N.J.), licensed a new, sensitive prostate cancer test from OncoMethylome Sciences (Liege, Belgium). The test detects prostate cancer DNA in urine. “The new licensing deal with Veridex is another step toward making high-quality molecular diagnostics available to cancer patients, which is OncoMethylome's ultimate goal. The deal is also important for us because it confirms market interest in our innovative products and demonstrates our ability to develop relationships with strong distribution partners,” said Herman Spolders, CEO of OncoMethylome. Under the new agreement, Veridex will take over product commercialization of the test, including development of the test kit, and will have worldwide exclusive right to sell the test. In return, OncoMethylome receives an upfront milestone payment, as well as royalties and sales-related milestone payments.
bioMérieux and ExonHit Collaborate on DNA Chip Test for Prostate Cancer
In their third collaboration on cancer diagnostics, bioMérieux (Marcy L'Etoile, France) and ExonHit (Paris, France) announced that they will work together to develop a prostate cancer blood test. The companies plan to create DNA biochips that will screen for the presence of prostate cancer markers in blood samples. The assay will be based on ExonHit's expertise in analysis of genome expression and on bioMérieux's experience in the field of in vitro diagnostics. The new test will aim to assist physicians in deciding whether or not to proceed with surgery, rather than relying on biopsies, to confirm the presence of prostate cancer.
Quidel Licenses MChip Flu Technology 
Under a licensing agreement with the CDC and the University of Colorado (CU), Quidel (San Diego, Calif.) won worldwide licensing rights to the MChip microarray-based flu technology developed by a partnership between scientists at CDC and CU. The MChip is based on a more stable segment of influenza genes than are other available methods, such as the recently announced FluChip developed by the same CU team. These stable matrix genes allow the MChip to provide more accurate results, even as the rest of the gene segments mutate over time. The MChip also simultaneously detects the influenza type and subtype. Quidel says it plans to develop and market molecular-based tests featuring the MChip for use in pandemic surveillance, as a tool for the clinical lab and at the point-of-care in doctor's offices.
Sysmex Joins Affymetrix Licensing Trend
Adding to the growing list of companies joining the “Powered by Affymetrix” program, Sysmex announced that it signed an agreement to incorporate Affymetrix GeneChip microarrays into its diagnostic products. Sysmex said it plans to use the Affymetrix chips to create new diagnostics technologies in the field of blood diseases and cancer for the global market. Financial details were not disclosed.
Luminex to Acquire Tm Bioscience
After a 6-year partnership, Luminex (Austin, Texas) announced plans to acquire Tm Bioscience (Toronto, Ontario) in a stock transaction. The deal will bring together DNA-based diagnostics based on Tm's Universal Array and Luminex's xMap technology. Gaining Tm's cGMP-capable manufacturing, proprietary molecular detection chemistries, assay development expertise, and menu of kits and reagents is a “transforming event” for the company, said Luminex CEO Patrick Balthrop. The companies expect the transaction, which is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, to close early this year.