May 1, 2006 “Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Lots of news unfolding across the lab industry. Here’s a round-up of recent and noteworthy items:

NEW VENTURES

 Persistent rumors indicate that a new national anatomic pathology company is in formation. Likely to be involved is James New, former CEO of AmeriPath, Inc. during its formative years and through that company’s sale to Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe in early 2003. (See TDR, March 3, 2003.) Another name linked to this nascent enterprise is Martin J. Stefanelli, who was part of the executive team at AmeriPath with New. A funding package totaling $300 million is expected to launch the business, which apparently intends to purchase only pathology groups which operate outside of hospitals. If $300 million is available for acquisitions, this new business is likely to prove disruptive to community hospital-based pathology practices.

 There’s a new laboratory consulting company in the marketplace. Called Nexus Global Solutions, Inc., it will offer “strategic solutions for the diagnostic market,” including laboratories. Based in Dallas, Texas, the new firm has three managing partners: Tim Baker, Brian Jackson, and Andrew Williams. In recent years, these individuals have provided Six Sigma and other consulting services to clinical laboratories.

TERMINATED VENTURES

 When the 300 employees of Universal Diagnostic Laboratories in New York, New York, came to work on Monday, April 10, they found their laboratory closed and out of business. This laboratory had been acquired in December 2004 by a consortium that included laboratory executives Craig Dawson and Len Poikey, Ph.D., and venture capital groups. (See TDR, February 21, 2005.) The deal was probably ill-advised from the start. Investors dismissed Dawson and Poikey from the lab earlier this year. Not finding a satisfactory buyer, they closed the lab company outright and are liquidating its assets.

 Another sad lab industry business story may be concluded soon. Leaks from inside Quest Diagnostics Incorporated suggest that the company is preparing to close Nichols Institute Diagnostics. This troubled business unit, which stopped selling its diagnostic kits last summer after FDA recall notices, represented approximately $40 million in revenues. (See TDR, July 11, 2005.)

SOLD VENTURES

 Laboratories with proprietary diagnostic technology and niche markets continue to attract big dollars. Last month, Fisher Scientific International, Inc. of Hampton, New Hampshire, announced agreements to acquire Athena Diagnostics Inc. of Worcester, Massachusetts (neurology tests) and purchase a minority interest in Nanogen Inc. of San Diego, California (micro- arrays and reagents). Fisher will pay $283 million and $15 million, respectively, for the Athena and Nanogen interests.

RETIREMENTS

 In Vorhees, New Jersey, long-time pathology and laboratory consultant Al Giles, President of Anodyne Green, has announced his retirement.

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