October 2010 Clinical Laboratory News: Industry Profiles

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October 2010: Volume 36, Number 10


LabCorp to Purchase Genzyme Genetics for $925M

Laboratory Corporation of American Holdings announced it will acquire Genzyme Genetics for $925 million. The acquisition is aimed at expanding the firm’s capabilities in several testing areas, including reproductive, genetic, and hematology-oncology. According to David King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, the purchase of Genzyme Genetics will also increase the company’s ability to perform clinical trials as a central laboratory. 

Beckman Coulter’s CEO Resigns

Scott Garrett, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Beckman Coulter, announced his resignation, effective September 6, 2010. Garrett had been with the company since 2005 and had recently led the integration of Olympus lab-based diagnostics business into Beckman Coulter. J. Robert Hurley has been named interim president and CEO until the firm finds a permanent successor to Garrett.

Salk, Sanford-Burnham to Use $21M Grant for HIV Effort

Salk Institute of Biological Studies and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have announced that they will conduct systems biology-based studies of the earliest immune system responses to HIV infection with a $21 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The multi-center research project will include DNA sequencing, expression analysis, RNAi analysis, and mass spectrometry, designed to discover the cellular protein mechanisms that protect against HIV.

NIH Awards Rheonix Grant to Develop POC Test for UTIs

Rheonix, a microfluidics firm, has received a $233,044 supplemental grant from the National Institutes of Health, which will be used to develop a point-of-care test for urinary tract infections (UTI). According to the firm, the test will allow all components of a multiplex molecular diagnostic to be integrated onto a 1-mm thick, palm-sized polystyrene chip. The grant supplements an earlier NIH award to develop a fully automated molecular diagnostic for identifying sexually transmitted infections and increases the scope of the work to include the molecular detection of UTI.

NIH to Fund Neurobiological Assay Research

The National Institutes of Health announced that beginning in 2011 it will provide as much as $5 million in grants to develop molecular and cellular assays that can measure and analyze changes in the function of brain cells. According to NIH, this grant program will fund research projects that seek to develop new technologies that can optimize, automate, standardize, and validate measures of molecular and cellular events that are relevant to brain function. These high-throughput tools should enable efficient screening of small molecules, peptides, or genetic perturbations. 

MLC Dx to Target Biomarkers with DNA Technologies

MLC Dx, a San Francisco-based molecular diagnostics firm, has raised almost $6 million in private financing, it disclosed in a document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the firm, it currently has a patent application for a method that uses DNA sequencing technology to identify biomarkers of autoimmune disorders and other diseases. The method includes isolating samples from a subject, one or more rounds of nucleic acid amplification, spatially isolating individual nucleic acids, and sequencing nucleic acids.

NIH to Fund Sigma-Aldrich’s Cardiovascular Disease Research

Sigma-Aldrich has signed an agreement with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, and Boston University (BU) to develop methods to measure several potential biomarkers of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) using plasma samples from NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study. Sigma-Aldrich will work with NHLBI and BU to provide analysis of plasma samples from 7,000 participants that will examine 180 potential biomarkers for CVD. The project will be funded by NHLBI under a research subaward agreement with BU.

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