July 25, 2011 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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In a play to expand its presence in cervical cancer testing, Roche Holdings announced an agreement to acquire mtm laboratories AG, based in Heidelberg, Germany. Roche will pay U.S. $180 million, plus another U.S. $85 million if performance milestones are achieved. mtm laboratories will become a division of Ventana Medical Systems. In its press release, Roche noted that mtm has proprietary test solutions based on the p16 biomarker, which is associated with cervical cancer.

MORE ON: Roche

In recent years, mtm has gained approval in Europe to market its CINtec Plus Cytology kit, which identifies over-expression of p16 in cervical Pap test samples to detect pre-cancerous lesions. Roche stated that it believes this test “could aid in the classification of patients with abnormal Pap or positive HPV results into those with and without significant pre-cancer or cancer, reducing unnecessary biopsies and ensuring patients are treated appropriately.” Financial analyst Andrew Weiss of Vontobel told a Reuters reporter that Roche may want to pair up mtm’s CINtec Plus Cytology test with its own HPV test as a way to define a new standard of care for cervical cancer testing. Because tens of millions of Pap tests are performed annually in the United States alone, this represents a huge market. It is why Roche and other competitors would like to develop a more accurate diagnostic test panel for detecting cervical cancer in its earliest stages.

WALTER REED ARMY HOSPITAL READY TO CLOSE

After more than 100 years of operation, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, will close next month. On September 15, the Army will transfer the facility to the State Department and the District of Columbia, who will become the new tenants. Over the years, a steady number of pathologists worked at Walter Reed and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP). AFIP will disestablish in September 2011. It ceased accepting case referrals on March 31, 2011.

TRANSITIONS

  • Earlier this month, Puget Sound Institute of Pathology in Seattle, Washington, appointed Stu Adelman to be its new CEO. Adelman was formerly General Manager o f PACLAB Laboratories, a position he held for almost 14 years.

Dark Daily Update

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…a study recently published in the Journal of Rheumatology that found certain laboratory workers in regular contact with toluene and xylene double their chances of developing a vascular condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.

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