“September 11, 2000 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

Here’s an interesting rumor. The September 11 is- sue of Business Week magazine says that Abbott Laboratories Inc. may acquire Beckman Coulter, Inc., based in Fullerton, California. Business Week quoted a financial analyst who believed the rumor was true. Since this rumor became public, spokesmen for both Abbott and Beckman Coulter declined to make any comment on the veracity of the Business Week story.


Pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche is making a $40 million capital investment in TriPath Imaging, Inc. of Burlington, North Carolina. TriPath manufactures the PREP® and AutoPap® devices for automating Pap smear preparation and screening. For TriPath, Roche’s investment is a big vote of confidence in both its products and its potential for future growth. Roche will own 24% of TriPath. Roche also owns 49% of Laboratory Corporation of America.


During the 1990s, the incidence of diabetes increased 33%, according to a study published in the September issue of Diabetes Care. Between 1990 and 1998, the share of the population found to have diabetes climbed to 6.5%. Among people 30-39, diabetes rates increased by 70%! Dr. Frank Vinicor, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s diabetes division, says that increased obesity among the population is responsible. The study is an annual telephone survey in which people are asked if they have diabetes. Because of the link between obesity and diabetes, re- searchers expect to see an increased incidence of diabetes among Americans.


This ominous trend will stimulate new diagnostic and prognostic test assays for diabetic patients. Clinical laboratories and pathology group practices which develop specialized expertise in diabetes detection and disease management will probably have high demand for their services in coming years. What is particularly interesting is that, among people only 30- 39 years old, the rate of diabetes has increased 70% in just eight years. This is a significant change in the usual demographics of the disease.


Here’s interesting evidence that doctors are ready to embrace Internet-based services, including clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology. A radiologist, Philip Berman, M.D., created AuntMinnie.com into a “radiology portal extraordinaire.” He purchased a competitor, Radiologybiz.com to maintain his market dominance. Radiologists submit a free registration and can then access free search engines, equipment auctions, and so forth. Most popular features are vendor catalogues, CME calendars, and archived articles. In seven months, Dr. Berman’s site signed up 16,000 of the nation’s 22,000 radiologists!


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