American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
July 2008 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

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July 2008: Volume 34, Number 7

Gen-Probe Offers $334 Million Bid for Innogenetics

Seeking a deal that could make it the largest stand-alone molecular diagnostics company in the world, Gen-Probe launched a $334 million cash bid for the Ghent, Belgium-based diagnostics company Innogenetics. The Gen-Probe offer is 6% higher than an initial April 25 bid by Solvay Pharmaceuticals S.A. (Brussels, Belgium). If Innogenetics accepts the Gen-Probe bid, the combined company would boast more than $500 million in sales for 2008, according to Gen-Probe. “We believe our proposed acquisition of Innogenetics would provide strategically valuable marketing and sales, distribution, and manufacturing capabilities to accelerate commercialization of Gen-Probe products in the European molecular diagnostics market, which we estimate is growing at roughly double the rate of the U.S. market,” said Gen-Probe CEO Hank Nordhoff. “The proposed acquisition would provide access to a number of complementary products, technologies, and markers that are generating revenue today or that we believe could be commercialized in the future.”

Siemens, LabCorp Planning to Co-develop Tests

Siemens Healthcare and LabCorp announced a preliminary agreement to co-develop new clinical diagnostic tests for companion diagnostics, metabolic syndrome, oncology, and diabetes. “This agreement establishes a framework that gives both companies an opportunity to offer new diagnostic tests to the laboratories, physicians, and their patients more quickly and effectively than either could do alone,” said David Hickey, senior vice president of strategic planning and business development for Siemens. “Advancing healthcare for patients is an important commitment that we can reach through strategic relationships such as this.” Financial terms were not disclosed.

LabCorp Signs Deal to Offer Companion Test for New Schizophrenia Drug

LabCorp announced a deal with Vanda Pharmaceuticals to develop and sell diagnostic tests for pharmacogenetic markers that Vanda identified in the course of its development of the schizophrenia drug Fanapta (iloperidone), which is still under FDA review. “Working with innovative companies like Vanda to commercialize predictive medicine tests is a critical strategic focus for LabCorp,” said Andrew Conrad, PhD, chief scientist and global head of clinical trials for LabCorp. “This collaboration is an example of our commitment to the advancement of personalized medicine and represents a successful translation of a research-based assay into a valuable diagnostic test. This relationship is consistent with our focus on companion diagnostics.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nanogen Gets CDC Contract for Flu Test

For the second time, the CDC has awarded Nanogen a contract to develop a rapid flu test as part of the CDC’s plan to prepare for a potential flu pandemic. The $10.4 million, 2-year contract will have Nanogen develop a fast molecular test that simultaneously detects and differentiates influenza A, B, seasonal flu (H1N1 and H3N2) strains, and RSV. The agreement also provides for a secondary test for avian flu strains (H5N1, H7N1,and H9N1) to be used for samples that are positive for flu A but negative for seasonal flu. Nanogen said the test will be significantly more sensitive than current rapid flu tests and will take half the time. “Recently there have been a number of multiplexed molecular products for respiratory targets to hit the market,” said Nanogen CEO Howard Birndorf. “These products, however, are expensive and test for more pathogens than are useful in clinical diagnosis. Having a fast molecular assay that can be used as a confirmatory test for influenza will improve the tools available to clinicians for better patient health management.” Nanogen will develop the test in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Handylab, Inc.

Chembio Awarded NIH Grant for Rapid TB Test

Chembio Diagnostics announced a $296,000 NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a simple, rapid, accurate, and cost-effective blood test for active tuberculosis that can be used in resource-limited settings. The test will use Chembio’s Dual Path Platform technology together with antigens from a large panel of novel recombinant antigens identified at the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI, Seattle, Wash.), a research organization focused on technologies for the developing world. Under the terms of its NIH SBIR award, Chembio will share approximately 1/3 of the grant funds with IDRI. Chembio will develop the new test for POC or field use, with results produced within 15 minutes. The test will offer a visual reading, as well as an optional automated readout of the result. 

Quidel and Prodesse Partner on Flu, RSV Test

Quidel and Prodesse announced a deal to jointly promote Prodesse’s ProFlu+ multiplex molecular diagnostic test within the U.S. The ProFlu+ test is a real-time PCR assay that simultaneously detects influenza A and B, as well as RSV. “Our acute care customers look for leadership from Quidel in influenza management,” said Quidel CEO Caren Mason. “By co-promoting this product, we are providing an alternative solution to those seeking a molecular complement to their rapid testing program.” Under the agreement, Quidel will earn a fee for all product placements.