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

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October 2009: Volume 35, Number 10

Thermo Fisher Buys BRAHMS for $470 Million

Thermo Fisher Scientific signed a definitive agreement to acquire German diagnostics firm BRAHMS, a leading provider of specialty in vitro diagnostic tests, for approximately $470 million. BRAHMS manufactures an assay for procalcitonin, a biomarker for the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. Although the company has patented biomarkers for bacterial infections, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, BRAHMS has also developed diagnostic tests, instrumentation, and prenatal screenings for use in both lab and point-of-care settings. “BRAHMS assays and instrumentation are a strong complement to our existing products for immunoassay testing, and its robust R&D pipeline creates promising opportunities to commercialize new patented diagnostic tests,” said Marijn E. Dekkers, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Upon closure of the deal, BRAHMS will be integrated into the specialty diagnostics business within Thermo Fisher’s Analytical Technologies Segment.

Abbott, Pfizer to Develop Gene Test for Lung Cancer

Abbott announced that it has entered into an agreement with Pfizer to develop a molecular diagnostic test designed to screen for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. Pfizer has already developed a novel investigational agent that selectively targets cancer-causing genes implicated in many cancers. To be eligible for Pfizer’s oral therapy, a specific genetic translocation found in NSCLC tumors and other cancers must be present. Under terms of the agreement, Abbott will develop a companion diagnostic test that will determine a patient’s genetic status and will be used to help select patients for future clinical trials. “We are very pleased to partner with Abbott to develop a companion diagnostic test for NSCLC,” said Garry Nicholson, general manager, Pfizer Oncology Business Unit. “Working in close partnership with the experienced Abbott team, we are confident that we will deliver yet another application of personalized medicine to address a currently unmet medical need in NSCLC.”

Beckman Coulter to Start New Genomic Services Firm

Beckman Coulter Genetics, a new company specializing in genomic services and nucleic acid purification products, was formed by combining Beckman Coulter’s Agencourt Bioscience with newly acquired Cogenics. Services currently available through Beckman Coulter Genomics include sequencing, sample preparation, genotyping, gene expression, biological efficiency, and safety testing, with support for all levels of regulatory compliance, including CLIA. Beckman Coulter Genomics also offers three commercially available next-generation sequencing platforms: the Roche 454 Genome Sequencer FLX with Titanium, Applied Biosystems SOLiD, and Illumina Genome Analyzer. “Through the creation of Beckman Coulter Genomics, we have successfully brought together the industry’s leading genomic service providers to offer our customers the highest quality data and analysis,” said Richard Creager, PhD, Beckman Coulter group vice president of Immunoassay, Molecular Diagnostics and Genomic Services.

Sonic Healthcare Purchases Two U.S. Labs

Sonic Healthcare of Sydney, Australia announced that it has acquired two U.S. medical labs, Piedmont Medical Laboratory (PML) and Axiom Laboratories. PML is a regional lab servicing community-based hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers throughout Virginia and West Virginia. PML has a current annual revenue of approximately $11 million. Axiom operates labs throughout Florida and Haiti, and has an annual revenue of approximately $5 million. The two companies were purchased for $20 million in upfront cash payments and certain performance-based payments.