June 16, 2008 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

GE Healthcare’s digital pathology joint venture with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), announced on June 5, is not the only in vitro diagnostics (IVD) investment by GE during 2008. Just this May, GE paid $738 million to acquire Whatman, PLC, of Kent, England. With annual sales of $230 million, Whatman offers products described by GE as “break-through protein array technology and FTA technology to capture, archive and purify DNA at room temperature enabling it to provide novel solutions for the analytical, healthcare and bioscience markets.” Although GE noted publicly that it viewed Whatman as an acquisition that would strengthen its presence in the broad life sciences field, Whatman’s protein microarray and DNA technologies can also be used in clinical molecular diagnostics.


“I believe there is still a lot of interest in acquiring and expanding in IVDs at GE,” said Manfred Scholz, Ph.D., President of Scholz Consulting Partners of Medford, Massachusetts. “However, the focus at GE seems to be more on pharmaceutical companion markers than acquiring a large-scale IVD business. GE seems to have a bias toward drug discovery and development–related technologies, rather than traditional IVDs. So I don’t think there will be an Abbott-like acquisition by GE any time soon. Acquisitions by GE are always driven by financial considerations, especially growth and margin.”


Sonic Healthcare Ltd. announced earlier this month that it would acquire 100% of the Labor 28 Group in Berlin, Germany. Labor 28 is an independent lab company based in Berlin and serving the surrounding metropolitan area. This is the third laboratory company in Germany that Sonic has acquired in recent years.


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.

Dark Daily Update

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

…why clinical and pathology laboratories in Canada are “unraveling at the seams” due to a “host of problems,” as described by the President of the Canadian Association of Pathology (CAP).

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