"Lab Informatics"

Spate of Lab Informatics Deals Signals Greater Investor Interest

Halfpenny, Data Innovations and MAS agree to sell or bring in new investors

DURING OCTOBER, three laboratory informatics companies were acquired or obtained new capital funding. It is an indication of the growing importance that laboratory informatics will play as healthcare moves toward the goal of the universal patient health record (EHR).

The first of the three transactions came on October 7. Halfpenny Technologies, Inc., of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, disclosed that it had secured $2.6 million in private venture capital. The money was provided by Osage Venture Partners, Milestone Venture Partners, and LORE Associates.

Halfpenny is known for its expertise in providing “clinical data integration solutions” that connect hospital labs and clinical laboratories with office-based physicians, health information exchanges (HIEs), and managed care plans. The company reports that it “has connected EMR systems in 1,500 practices to hospitals and labs” and “has successfully worked with EMR systems from more than 100 different vendors.”

Data Innovations Is Sold

The next laboratory informatics transaction was announced on October 12. Battery Ventures purchased 100% of Data Innovations, Inc., based in Burlington, Vermont. Data Innovations is one of the larger companies offering middleware solutions to clinical labs, blood banks, and in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers.

As part of the acquisition, Mike Epplen will become the new CEO at Data Innovations. Epplen most recently held executive positions at Lawson Software and Healthvision (which was acquired by Lawson earlier in 2010).

Data Innovations says that it has 40 industry business partnerships, along with 6,500 installed middleware systems in 65 countries. It has written middleware solutions for about “1,000 different instruments, automation systems, and information systems.”

Roche to Acquire RAL

The third lab informatics acquistion to take place was announced on October 15. Roche Holdings will acquire certain assets of Charlottesville, Virgina-based Medical Automation Systems (MAS). The deal includes the names “RAL,” “Medical Automation Systems,” and “MAS,” as well as all of the employees related to those products. Once the deal is closed, MAS will be renamed. Roche and MAS have been co-marketing RAL for hospital glucose testing in the U.S. for more than a decade.

It is noteworthy to have three lab informatics companies involved in major transactions over a two-week period. Demand for interconnectivity and middleware solutions remains strong. Laboratories are under pressure to interface with EMRS, as well as HIEs. It is one reason why investors are interested in these lab informatics companies.

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