“October 24, 2005 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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XIFIN, Inc. has been recognized as one of San Diego’s “Technology Fast 50” companies. XIFIN, based in San Diego, provides laboratories and hospital outreach programs with a Web-based software system for managing laboratory accounts receivables and financial operations. To make this list, compiled by Deloitt and Touche, LLP, a company must have had revenues of at least $50,000 in 2000 and $1 million in 2004, generated from proprietary technology that is the source of “a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues.”


There’s a name change in the IVD world. ViroLogic, Inc. has changed its name to Monogram Biosciences, Inc. Based in South San Francisco, California, the company is best known in the laboratory industry for its menu of assays that help identify drug resistance in HIV patients.


This year’s Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine was awarded to J. Robin Warren, M.D., a pathologist, and Barry J. Marshall, M.D., for their discovery of Helicobactor pylori bacteria and its role in causing ulcers. Both were working at the Royal Perth Hospital in Perth, Australia at the time this research was con- ducted. In press coverage of this Nobel prize, most stories focused on the role of Marshall. That’s because Marshall, a young clinical fellow at the time of this research, actually swallowed a glass full of the bacteria to demonstrate, on himself, that this bacteria could cause ulcers.

ADD TO: Nobel Prize

However, it was pathologist Warren who first observed that ulcers could be caused by bacteria. As described in the Nobel Award, “he observed small curved bacteria colonising the lower part of the stomach in about 50% of [ulcer] patients from which biopsies had been taken. He made the crucial observation that signs of inflammation were always present in the gastric mucosa close to where the bacteria were seen.” Based on this observation, Warren and Marshall initiated a study of biopsies from 100 patients. Marshall was able to cultivate a then-unknown species of bacteria—now called H. pylori, from some of these biopsy specimens.


It seems Spicewood, Texas is becoming attractive among the lab industry cognoscenti. Recently, THE DARK REPORT walked into a local BBQ emporium for lunch. Sitting at the next table was a former CEO and his Chief Science Officer from a national laboratory, relaxing after a morning round of golf. The next evening, THE DARK REPORT was invited to help an IVD company CEO celebrate her birthday at Poodies’, the famed honky-tonk owned and operated by Willie Nelson’s long-time road manager. Even as a small community, Spicewood seems to be achieving a higher profile as a lab industry “must visit” locale.


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