"Lab Industry Briefs"

Washington G-2, AACC, Cerner, IBM, Visible Genetics, Bio-Reference Labs

LAB MEETINGS CONTINUE WITH STRONG ATTENDANCE

DESPITE THE HASSLES that now come with cross-country travel, laboratorians throughout the United States continue to support industry meetings.

Traditionally the largest lab meeting of the fall season, “Lab Institute 2001” expects good attendance. Dennis Weissman, Publisher of Washington G- 2 Intelligence Reports and producer of the conference, tells THE DARK REPORT that a sizeable crowd will be on hand when the meeting convenes in Washington, DC on October 26.

“If anything, recent events have made it even more important to get good information and stay on top of what’s changing,” noted Weissman. “Registrations are flowing in steadily and we believe this is the reason.”

Another lab association producing a full slate of meetings is the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC). Following its lab automation meeting earlier this month, it has meetings scheduled on molecular diagnostics (San Diego–Nov. 8-10) and laboratory reimbursement (Washington, DC–Nov. 15).

“In the aftermath of recent events, registrations for our meetings have declined somewhat, by about 25%,” stated Jerry Goldsmith, AACC’s Vice President of Marketing Programs, “However, we’ve maintained our normal schedule of meetings and are adding a meeting on biological and chemical terrorism for December.”

CERNER AND IBM ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

LOST IN THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11 was the news that Cerner Corporation and IBM had entered into a global strategic alliance.

The companies announced that the alliance is to “wrap IBM’s worldwide e-business technology, marketing, and sales capabilities around Cerner Millennium™, the company’s clinical, management, and knowledge software application systems.”

Effectively, the goal is for both companies to sell each other’s products. Cerner will promote IBM’s computers, servers, storage area networks, and middleware. IBM will market Cerner’s Millennium.

IBM, Motorola, Intel and other big players in computers and informatics have their eye on the healthcare marketplace. The Cerner-IBM alliance is representative of a number of similar partnerships designed to position these corporations for a bigger share of the market for healthcare informatics.

GENE-BASED DNA TESTING DEAL ANNOUNCED

WALL STREET HAS LONG BEEN INTRIGUED by Visible Genetics, Inc., a Canadian company developing technologies to allow the high-speed sequencing of genes linked to disease.

On September 28, Visible Genetics received market clearance from the FDA for its TRUGENE™ HIV-1 Genotyping Kit and OpenGene™ DNA Sequencing System. Just days earlier, Visible Genetics announced that it had entered an agreement to allow Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. of Elmwood Park, New Jersey to market the tests in the New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia areas.

Besides its physicians’ office testing business, Bio-Reference does a sizeable volume of prison and jail testing. It is estimated that up to 35% of all prisoners are HIV-positive.

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