July 28, 2008 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Last Monday, UroPath, Inc., an Arlington, Texas, company operating anatomic pathology laboratory condominium complexes in several states, disclosed its sale to HealthTronics, Inc., of Austin, Texas. Sales price was $7.75 million. UroPath’s former owners are urologists who founded the company in 2003. (See TDR, August 9, 2004.) HealthTronics sells and maintains lithotripters, laser products, and consumables to the urology professions. It also owns Claripath Laboratories, an anatomic pathology company in Augusta, Georgia.

MORE ON: UroPath

UroPath’s sale to HealthTronics is likely to be in response to Medicare anti-markup rules that became effective on January 1, 2008. These rules prevent anatomic pathology (AP) condo/pod labs like those operated by UroPath from marking up claims to Medicare. UroPath and several related parties sued the Medicare program earlier this year to challenge the anti-markup rule. A federal judge ruled against UroPath and dismissed the case on May 6, 2008. UroPath says that, last year, its AP labs processed about 400,000 specimens for more than 50 urology practices employing 450 urologists in 17 states.

GENOME PROJECT ADDS 3 COMPANIES

Three companies that pioneered gene sequencing technologies have joined the 1000 Genomes Project, an international effort to build a detailed map of human genetic variation for research. The companies are: 454 Life Sciences, a Roche company in Branford, Connecticut; Applied Biosystems, an Applera Corp. business in Foster City, California; and Illumina Inc., in San Diego, California.

TRANSITIONS

  • Christopher S. Frings, Ph.D., died at the age of 67 on July 3, 2008. A resident of Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Frings was a regular on the national lab speaking circuit and had been honored in each of the past 20 years with an outstanding speaker award by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in Clinical Chemistry from Purdue University, Dr. Frings completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. It was in 1987 that he became a full-time consultant and speaker.

Dark Daily Update

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…why Big Pharma is soon to crowd into the laboratory testing marketplace. The need for companion diagnostic tests for new therapeutic drugs and control over the bio-marker pipeline are behind this trend.

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