American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
April 2009 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

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April 2009: Volume 35, Number 4

Beckman Coulter to Acquire Olympus Diagnostics Unit

Beckman Coulter has reached an agreement with Olympus to acquire the diagnostic systems portion of Olympus’ Life Sciences business for approximately $800 million. The deal will expand Beckman’s line of products currently available in the chemistry market, increase Beckman’s presence in reference labs and large-volume hospital labs, and serve as an opportunity for Beckman to expand its line of immunoassay products. Scott Garrett, Beckman Coulter’s CEO, stated, “This compelling transaction combines the chemistry product lines of our two companies into a complete chemistry systems offering.” Beckman expects to finance the acquisition with newly issued Beckman Coulter common stock valued at approximately $300 million, and newly issued debt valued at approximately $500 million.

Mosaiques to Collaborate with FDA on Biomarker Development

Mosaiques Diagnostics and Therapeutics AG have signed a collaborative agreement with FDA to identify and validate protein and peptide biomarkers in urine that would assess drug toxicity. Preliminary experiments indicate that the toxic effects of drugs can result in changes in the proteome of body fluids that could be identified earlier than pathological changes are evident. FDA will contribute knowledge on drug and drug toxicity, as well as conduct animal studies, while Mosaiques will contribute knowledge on proteome analysis, capillary electrophoresis coupled mass spectrometry, data evaluation, calibration, and multivariate statistics. Validation of these biomarkers could enable a more accurate assessment of potential drug toxicity and the early identification of side effects. Mosaiques’ founder and CSO, Harold Mischak, PhD, stated, “We are aiming to reduce or even prevent adverse effects of drugs by implementing our technology in preclinical testing. This agreement with the FDA underlines the potential of the protein technology for modern medicine and appropriate treatment.”

Nanosys, Harvard License Biosensor Patents to Vista Therapeutics

Nanosys, Harvard University Office of Technology Development, and Vista Therapeutics announced that Vista has signed licensing agreements with both Nanosys and Harvard covering several patents and patent applications related to the use of nanowires for biosensors.

Vista has secured exclusive, worldwide rights for the use of the nanowires for the detection of biomarkers associated with organ or tissue damage. Vista plans to manufacture and sell nanowires that are formatted to provide real-time, continuous measurement of blood and urinary biomarkers. Spencer Farr, PhD, CEO of Vista, stated that these agreements will allow “physicians, clinicians, and pharmaceutical researchers to continuously monitor, on a real-time basis, a wide variety of blood and urinary biomarkers that will be transformational to patient care.” In exchange, Harvard and Nanosy have received an equity position in Vista, as well as upfront license and downstream royalty payments.

LabCorp to Offer Roche HCV Test

LabCorp has announced that it will be the first clinical lab to offer HCV PCR testing using the Roche COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HCV test that recently received FDA approval. The assay is intended to be used as an aid in the management of HCV-infected individuals currently undergoing antiviral therapy and can be used to measure HCV RNA levels to help predict patient responses to HCV therapy. Whitney Green, senior vice president of commercial operations, U.S. Molecular Diagnostics at Roche Diagnostics, stated, “This new Roche Real-Time PCR test enables laboratories to deliver reliable healthcare information with ease, aiding physicians in the management of patient response to treatment.”