September 14, 2020 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

Alphabet, Inc., the parent of Google, is expanding its COVID-19 testing activities. In recent months, Verily Life Sciences—a division of Alphabet devoted to research into life sciences—organized a clinical laboratory for COVID-19 testing. It obtained CLIA certification and is licensed with the State of California. In a blog, Verily’s Head of Pathology, Deb Hanks, MD, wrote that the lab had “verified the performance of the SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test via ThermoFisher Scientific’s TaqPath test kit,” which has an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

MORE ON: COVID Tests at Google’s Verily

Hanks also wrote that Verily submitted an EUA application to adapt the TaqPath test for use in pooled testing as a way to expand the number of COVID-19 tests the lab can perform. These moves by Alphabet/Google to enter the clinical laboratory market mirror similar steps taken by Amazon, which is building multiple clinical labs to provide COVID-19 tests for its 1,000,000 employees. (See TDR, Aug. 3, 2020.) The fact that both Alphabet/Google and Amazon are gearing up sizeable clinical laboratory operations could mean that they intend to compete against established clinical labs in coming years.


• ARUP Laboratories of Salt Lake City announced the appointment of Tracy George, MD, as Chief Medical Officer. George’s prior positions were with University of Utah, University of New Mexico, Tri-Core Reference Laboratories, and Stanford University.

• Biocept of San Diego selected pathologist Michael Dugan, MD, to be Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Medical Director. Dugan previously held positions at Clinical Genomics, Exact Sciences, Quest Diagnostics, Roche Molecular Systems, and Genzyme Genetics.

• Sherlock Biosciences of Cambridge, Mass., announced that Martin Madeus is its new Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Sherlock, Madeus held executive positions at Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics,Millipore, and Roche Diagnostics.

• Ryan Phan, PhD, was appointed Vice President, Lab Operations and MedicalDirector by CareDx of Brisbane, Calif. He previously was with Kaiser Permanente, UCLA, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

• Carmen Wiley, PhD, joined Incyte Diagnostics of Spokane, Wash., in the role of Clinical Medical Director. Prior positions were with Veravas, Roche Diagnostics, PAML, and the Marshfield Clinic. She is also a past president of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, October 5, 2020.

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