“May 8, 2000 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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There’s another healthcare Ecommerce company starting up. This one’s directed at the clinical laboratory industry. To be called “LabPortal.com,” it’s connected to Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner Inc., Park City Solutions, and American Medical Laboratories. LabPortal.com will be managed by Mark Johnston, who left an executive post at LabCorp to join the new firm.

Digene Corporation’s Hybrid CaptureR II HPV test was named “Biotechnology Product of the Year” for 2000 by the High Technology Council of Maryland. Because of Maryland’s active biotech community, this is notable recognition for Digene’s DNA-based diagnostic technology. Also, a point of correction is in order. In the March 27, 2000 issue, THE DARK REPORT stated that Digene’s Hybrid Capture II HPV test used a blood sample. This is incorrect. It uses a sample of cervical cells, collected with the same devices used in Pap smear collection.


Here’s an interesting item that demonstrates how statistics can be misleading. The Associated Press (AP) reported recently that the 700,000 physicians in the U.S. “cause” 120,000 accidental deaths per year, generating a ratio of accidental deaths per physician of 0.171. The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80 million, and there are 1,500 accidental gun deaths per year for all age groups. Thus, the accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188. The AP writer noted that these statistics would indicate that doctors are 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners!


Maybe Shared Medical Systems (SMS) really was for sale. After pooh-poohing a tender offer from Eclypsis, led by ex-SMS CEO Harvey J. Wilson, it was announced on May 1 that Siemens AG would acquire SMS for $2.1 billion. Siemens’ wants to combine its magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray equipment business, which generates data on patients, with the information network products offered by SMS.


Some interesting rumors, as yet unconfirmed, are making the rounds. In the pathology world, scuttlebutt says that two pathology companies with national ambitions are negotiating a merger or acquisition. If true, expect official news to surface within 30 days.


On the divorce front, THE DARK REPORT has always noted that hospital lab-commercial lab business relationships are fraught with pitfalls. Anytime the financials become weak, both parties have an incentive to dissolve the relationship. Some lab industry observers believe that may be the case with a rather high-profile relationship between one hospital company and a laboratory company. Details of the situation remain fuzzy, but word is that the financial outcomes of this particular enterprise are leading both parties to seek an honorable way to dissolve the project and go their separate ways.


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