February 8, 2016 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

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Microbiology’s most important reagent is undergoing a supply crunch and becoming more expensive. Agar production is being affected by two factors. One is the increased global demand for seaweed. The second are new restrictions on the trade of seaweed, intended to protect natural stocks of seaweed. In December, Thermo Fisher Scientific of Waltham, Massachusetts, said it had ceased the sale of certain raw agar products. This would allow it to maximize production of products used by microbiology and research labs that use agar with growth nutrients. Millipore Sigma in Billerica, Massachusetts, also announced that it was halting sales of raw agar for a period of time.

More on: Agar supply

Microbiology labs are seeing a substantial increase in the price of supplies that utilize agar. News stories report that the price of raw agar has nearly tripled in recent months. Currently a kilogram of agar is priced at between $35 to $45. It is being reported that the direct cause of the current agar shortage is due to Morocco enforcing a production cap on Moroccan Gelidium of 6,000 tons, with an export cap of 1,200 tons. Morocco has previously harvested as much a 14,000 tons per year. The country wants to protect a dwindling population of Gelidium.


Two big acquisitions demonstrate that consolidation continues among in vitro diagnostics manufacturers. On January 21, Abbott Laboratories announced an agreement to acquire Alere, Inc., for a price of $5.8 billion. Following completion of this transaction, Abbott said its annual revenue would exceed $7 billion. It was January 8 when news broke that Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., had agreed to acquire Affymetrix Inc., in a deal valued at about $1.3 billion.


  • Neogenomics of Fort Meyers, Florida, appointed Mark Machulcz as its new Vice President of Operations. Machulcz first arrived at Neogenomics in December, after the acquisition of Clarient Diagnostic Services. Prior to Clarient, he had previously held executive positions at PLUS Diagnostics and Quest Diagnostics Incorporated.

Dark Daily Update

dark_daily_logoHave you caught the latest e-briefings from DARK Daily? If so, then you’d know that…

…why hospitals in Syracuse,New York, have begun toencourage medical tourism byCanadians. Lengthy waittimes for elective surgeries inCanada motivate patients totravel across the border forfaster access to care.

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That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, February 29, 2016.


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