June 17, 2013 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Big news last week was the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that natural genes cannot be patented. The case was brought against Myriad Genetics, Inc., by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Association for Molecular Pathology, and several other plaintiffs. The decision invalidated some of the patents held by Myriad for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. However, the court ruled that synthetically created exon-only strands of nucleotides, known as complementary DNA (cDNA), is patentable. Investors are trying to determine how the ruling might affect Myriad. Meanwhile, within hours, several lab organizations issued public announcements that they would offer tests based on the BRACA 1 and BRCA 2 genes.

MORE ON: Myriad

For the laboratory medicine profession, the Supreme Court ruling was generally welcomed. Pathologists and laboratory professionals believe that multi-gene assays will become the norm. There will be tests that incorporate hundreds or thousands of genes. With the Supreme Court decision, it means that labs will not have to hunt down the patent holders for genes used in these multi-analyte assays nor pay royalties when using a natural gene in their tests.


Financial analysts are predicting strong and steady growth in the market for digital pathology systems. A new report issued by Frost & Sullivan estimates that, in the United States, sales of digital pathology systems will grow from $77.2 million in 2012 to $205.7 million in 2017. In Europe, Frost & Sullivan predicts sales will increase from $62.23 million in 2012 to as much as $143.6 million in 2019. This represents compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 17% for the United States and 12.7% for Europe. This is further confirmation that digital pathology technology is improving and pathologists are interesting in acquiring and using these systems.


  • Jerry Baker is the new President and CEO for HIT Application Solutions (HIT) of Exton, Pennsylvania. Baker has held executive positions at Halfpenny Technologies and 3M Health Information Systems, as well as at other companies.

Dark Daily Update

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…how, after a four-year effort and $1 billion in spending, the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense have admitted they cannot achieve full integration of their respective electronic health record (EHR) systems.

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