“April 9, 2001 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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There’s another commercial laboratory working toward its ISO-9001 certification. CEO Roy Trucks of Doctors Laboratory, Inc. in Valdosta, Georgia reports that implementation of ISO-mandated procedures is going well. The goal is to pass the audit and receive the ISO-9001 certificate by October 2001. Trucks also indicates that the new management methods have already begun boosting productivity in the lab while reducing system-generated errors.


Probably the nation’s best existing example of a commercial lab with long-standing hospital joint venture relationships has been purchased by Laboratory Corporation of America. It was announced on March 26 that LabCorp would acquire Path Lab, Inc. in a deal expected to close within 30 days. Path Lab President Thomas Hirsch will stay on, along with his management team. Path Lab has been discreetly shopping for a buyer for some time.


It’s been an increasingly- tough market for MedPlus, Inc., a company developing products to support an electronic medical record. Operating losses and weak investor interest in e-health companies have taken their toll. As March 26, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated offered to buy the remaining stake in MedPlus that it doesn’t already own for $17.3 million, subject to proper due diligence. As of press time, Quest Diagnostics had not confirmed that it would proceed with the MedPlus acquisition.


MedPlus is a relatively small company. It claims to have contracts with 125 hospitals, and its annual revenues totaled only $11.5 million for fiscal year ending January 31, 1999. It’s net loss for that year was $8.5 million. During 2000, Quest Diagnostics paid almost $10 million to acquire an 18% equity interest in MedPlus. As part of that agreement, Quest Diagnostics agreed to jointly market MedPlus’ ChartMaxx and E.Maxx patient record systems. These systems are designed to integrate clinical data, including lab test results, from hospitals, laboratories, and physicians’ offices.


Located in Menlo Park, California, PharmChem, Inc. has endured the employee shortages and escalating business costs that come from its location in the famed “Silicon Valley.” But apparently California’s energy crisis is the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Company officials announced plans to close all operations in California. PharmChem will move its headquarters and testing now done in California to an existing laboratory in Fort Worth, Texas. PharmChem’s Menlo Park laboratory was recently reclassified by PG&E to an “interruptible power supply.” This means the lab is subject to shut-down by rolling power blackouts.


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