Competition for HPV testing just got more intense with the announcement that Roche Diagnostics has obtained rights to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) patent portfolio owned by Institut Pasteur in France. It intends to develop an HPV test that would compete with Digene Corporation’s HPV test. Digene currently holds a strong market position because it owns the only HPV test with FDA approval and it tests for several HPV subtypes. By acquiring rights to these HPV patents, Roche’s action threw a cloud on Cytyc Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Digene. (See TDR, March 11, 2002.) On the day following Roche’s announcement, share prices for Cytyc and Digene both declined by about 20%.
LABCORP-DYNACARE DEAL CLEARS FTC
Laboratory Corporation of America’s proposed acquisition of Dynacare, Inc. cleared antitrust review on June 19. Subject to several other steps, both labs expect the deal to close in the third quarter.
IBM ENTERS INSURANCE CLAIMS PROCESSING MARKET
IBM is raising the bar on automated insurance claims processing. Its first major client is Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New York, with 4.7 million subscribers. IBM’s system uses a software engine developed by deNovis which has the ability to “automatically read policy statements, rules and regulations, and make payments automatically.” IBM and Empire to hope to dramatically reduce the cost of claims processing, estimated to run between $16 and $40 apiece. IBM is targeting Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, government health plans, mid-market payers, and smaller self-insured health plans.
ADD TO: Automated Claims
The promise of automated claims processing, using the Internet, can reduce not only the cost to handle the claim, but can also reduce turnaround time. Laboratories in New York will be among the first to benefit from this service, once IBM and Empire have completed implementation. The arrival of IBM in the automated claims marketplace increases the com- petition for companies like MedUnite, a claims processing company started by several major health insurers in recent years.
COMINGS & GOINGS:
- Labtest.com of Midland Park, New Jersey announced that Jack Redding had joined the firm to help in the development and marketing of its browser-based lab test ordering and results reporting product. Redding was most recently Director of e-Business at Specialty Laboratories in California.
- Beckman Coulter, Inc. went outside the company and hired Scott Garrett to be President of its Clinical Diagnostics Division, effective June 17, 2002. Garrett replaces Albert Ziegler, who retired in April. Garrett has a 20-year career with companies such as Baxter International, American Hospital Supply Corp. and Dade International.