December 2007 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

December 2007: Volume 33, Number 12

Beckman Coulter Licenses Johns Hopkins Cancer Data

Beginning with 200 genes linked to breast and colon cancer, two licensing option agreements with Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) give Beckman Coulter (Fullerton, Calif.) first access to Hopkins’ cancer genomics studies, including sequencing services and options to license intellectual property from ongoing studies on six other cancers. “These unprecedented agreements put Beckman Coulter in a unique, leading-edge position in the molecular diagnostics field,” said Bruce Wallace, VP of Beckman Coulter’s Molecular Diagnostics Business Center. “Beckman Coulter will have the exclusive option to license any of the genetic mutations discovered in these studies that have diagnostic potential.” Financial terms were not disclosed.

Quest Licenses HIV Co-Receptor Tropism Test

Quest (Madison, N.J.) announced a deal with Pathway Diagnostics (Malibu, Calif.) to offer a molecular HIV co-receptor tropism assay based on Pathway’s SensiTrop test technology. The non-exclusive license agreement covers the heteroduplex tracking technology that the SensiTrop test is based on. According to Quest, the assay will help physicians identify patients with certain strains of HIV that make them unresponsive to entry inhibitor anti-retroviral drugs, such as Pfizer’s (New York, N.Y.) Selzentry. Selzentry is the first FDA-cleared therapy in this new class of entry inhibitor drugs that work by blocking the CCR5 co-receptor, hindering the virus’s ability to bind to and infect cells. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

LabCorp and Medco Ink PGx Research Deal

LabCorp (Burlington, N.C.) and pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc. (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) announced a research agreement focused on developing a genetic test for patient response to the breast cancer drug tamoxifen. The project will use Roche’s (Pleasanton, Calif.) AmpliChip CYP450 test. Approximately 10% of women using tamoxifen do not fully benefit from the drug because of variations in genes coding drug metabolizing enzymes, according to LabCorp.

New Warfarin-Response Test in the Works

Osmetech (Pasadena, Calif.) announced plans for a genetic test to help determine the initial warfarin dose a patient should receive. Osmetech licensed research on a new biomarker from Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (Marshfield, Wis.) that it plans to incorporate into the test, which CEO James White said the company expects to market in the first half of 2008. “The marker provides additional information to improve the dosage accuracy over any other product on the market and will be run on our recently introduced XT-8 instrument. The addition of unique content to our compelling XT-8 instrument will further enhance our ability to become a significant player in the molecular diagnostics market,” White said. Financial terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

PAML and MountainStar Sign Deal for Lab Outreach Services

Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (Spokane, Wash.) announced an agreement with MountainStar (Cottonwood Heights, Utah), a healthcare system that operates eight hospitals in Idaho and Utah, to enhance outreach laboratory services in Utah. The joint enterprise will be known as MountainStar Clinical Laboratories and will bundle services from the labs at two of MountainStar’s hospitals with the esoteric and outreach services of PAML. “The partnership with MountainStar is an important milestone for PAML in the continued expansion of our laboratory joint ventures with leading hospital systems,” said PAML CEO Tom Tiffany. “We are confident that our partner health systems will realize the benefits of working in a collaborative fashion to expand outreach lab businesses. Our goal is to provide a turn-key program that will enable a competitive offering to physicians in their local communities.” PAML said it will employ its recent investment in a suite of laboratory IT products and services to connect the two hospitals and PAML for the joint venture. Financial details were not disclosed.

Siemens Closes Acquisition of Dade Behring

With more than 94% of Dade Behring’s stock in hand, Siemens (Munich, Germany) announced a successful close to the acquisition that was announced in July. Siemens will integrate Dade Behring (Deerfield, Ill.) into its Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics business unit, operating it as a wholly-owned subsidiary. “With its strong position in the field of clinical chemistry, Dade Behring complements our existing laboratory business,” said Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics CEO Erich Reinhardt. “Plus, its unique, fully integrated IT platforms for combining chemistry and immunodiagnostics dramatically improve laboratory workflow, supporting Siemens’ commitment to partner with its customers to deliver increased efficiency throughout the healthcare enterprise.”

Since its acquisition of Diagnostics Products Corporation in 2006, followed by the purchase of Bayer’s (Tarrytown, N.Y.) diagnostic arm, finalized in January, Siemens has pushed forward with its intention to further integrate medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, and clinical IT. According to Reinhardt, these acquisitions will also allow Siemens to offer a portfolio of products across the whole healthcare continuum. “Siemens alone can offer opportunities for the integration of such a comprehensive range of technology, workflows, and information that will help our customers deliver an improved quality of patient care at reduced costs,” added Reinhardt. Siemens’ top competitor GE (Fairfield, Conn.) came close to an $8 billion buyout of Abbott’s (Abbott Park, Ill.) diagnostics unit this year, but the deal fell through in July.











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