“October 23, 2000 Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

Get ready for the stock market to begin creating multi-millionaires from today’s generation of commercial laboratory executives. Most laboratorians know that Roche sold $430.5 million of its stock holding in Laboratory Corporation of America stock only seven days ago. Lesser known is the fact that LabCorp executives Thomas McMahon and Brad Smith sold a total of 150,000 shares from their holdings, worth some $13.7 million as of that date.

ADD TO: LAB MILLIONAIRES

There’s a growing cadre of executives working for public lab companies who are positioned to make millions if the value of their stock options skyrockets. Waiting in the wings are executives from Specialty Laboratories, American Medical Labs and Dynacare—whose companies are preparing to go public. Unlike the 1990s, this decade is going to make a number of lab executives and pathologists extremely wealthy.

CELERA MAPS GENETIC CODE OF LAB MOUSE

For laboratorians watching the milestones on the road to widespread genetic and molecular diagnostics, here’s an intriguing accomplishment.
Celera Genomics Group announced that it has mapped 95% of the genetic sequence of the laboratory mouse. Celera’s feat comes only four months after it and the government-funded Human Genome Project jointly announced the sequencing of the human genome. Comparison of the mouse and human genomes is expected to speed up the identification of genes and their functions. “It’s stunning to sit in front of a computer and just scan through the data” because the genes just jump out, notes J. Craig Ventor, Celera’s President.

MORE ON: MOUSE GENOME

Celera intends to sell its data on the lab mouse. Demand appears to be there. It already has five drug companies, eight academic institutions, and two biotech companies lined up as customers. Annual fee for drug
companies will be between $5 million and $10 million, while academic institutions will pay around $6,000 to $15,000 for each scientist accessing the data. Pioneering researchers indicate that side-by-side comparisons of the mouse and human genomes makes it both faster and easier to identify relevant gene segments.

BIG CHANGE MAY LIE AHEAD FOR SUMMER LAB CONVENTIONS

One of the more interesting feuds in the lab industry has been the ongoing summer convention battle between the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA). Annual meetings for both associations are just weeks apart. In recent years diagnostic manufacturers began complaining about the redundant expense of financing their exhibits at two locations. Grapevine gossip says a new agreement between the two lab associations will result in a combined annual meeting as early as the summer of 2002.

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