“April 1, 2002 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced it has identified genetic markers useful in identifying which people will respond best to cholesterol-lowering drugs. A study of 500 patients taking Lipitor, Pravachol, and Zochor compared their response to drugs over 16 weeks with a genetic profile that analyzed 100 genes. Among other things, the company says it may use the information to patent a genetic test that, as a drug comes off patent, would be packaged with the drug to extend the patent life of the drug.


It’s another example of how valuable a large data base of clinical information can be. On March 26, Mayo Clinic disclosed that it was computerizing patient records. By July, it expects to have 4 million of its 6 million patient records into the data base. In a later phase, Mayo wants to include genetic pro- files on as many patients as possible.


Last week the Department of Health and Human Sciences officially recommended that more testing be done to identify the 16 million Americans between 40 and 74 years old with “pre-diabetes.” Doctors are asked to screen patients to identify those with higher-than-normal blood glucose, but below the level that trigger a diagnosis of diabetes. Officials declared diabetes to be the nation’s most expensive health problem, costing $97 billion in 1997.

ADD TO: Glucose Testing

Of particular interest for laboratorians is a new twist. Part of this campaign will include steps to make patients aware of their blood glucose level. “People should know their blood glucose level, just as they know their cholesterol levels,” commented Francis Kaufman, President-Elect of the Diabetes Association. Over time, labs should see a build-up in blood glucose testing, accompanied by an increase in consumer interest and need for more consumer information about these types of tests.

CareEvolve.com Gets New CEO

Cory Fishkin has surfaced at CareEvolve.com, where he will be the CEO. CareEvolve.com. based in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, is a physicians’ Web portal that is owned by Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. and Roche Diagnostics, Inc. Fishkin had started a consulting business after leaving McKesson when it closed down Abaton.com as a separate business unit.

MORE ON: Bio-Reference

Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI) recently created the position of Vice Chairman for Marvin Topfer, who acquired a significant amount of BRLI stock last year. Topfer is best known for his role in helping Michael Dell build Dell Computer, where Topfer served as Vice Chairman and Co-CEO.


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