September 18, 2017 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Last week, 23andMe raised $250 million in a financing round led by Sequoia Capital. The company has an estimated value of $1.75 billion and has attracted $491 million in capital since its founding. In 2015, 23andMe formed a therapeutics division. This business unit is partnering with several major players in the pharmaceutical industry to use genetic data to develop new drugs. Much of the money from this latest infusion of capital will go the therapeutics division.

MORE ON 23andMe 

Earlier this year, the company obtained FDA clearance to market the 23andMe Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk (GHR) tests for 10 diseases or conditions. These include Parkinson’s disease, Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Celiac disease, hereditary hemochromatosis, and hereditary thrombophilia, among others. Sources report that 23andMe is working with the FDA to obtain clearance to offer genetic tests involving the breast cancer-related genes BRCA-1 and BRCA-2.


In Australia, the state of Queensland named Sunquest Information Systems as the preferred supplier for its new laboratory information system (LIS). The state wants to replace a 30-year-old LIS product called Auslab. The new LIS will handle not just clinical laboratory services in public hospitals, but also forensic pathology and public and environmental health. Sunquest must build a work- ing prototype of the LIS for testing before a final contract will be issued by Queensland. The project has an estimated cost of $50 million to $100 million. This is another example of the globalization of medical laboratory testing.


On Sept. 13, it was reported that police in Brooklyn, Ind., had arrested a pathologist for suspicion of drunken driving. News reports said that, in his vehicle, police found a half-empty bottle of vodka and “human body parts.” In later days, more details emerged. The pathologist was Elmo Griggs, MD, 75, who was a pathology vendor for the Marion County coroner’s office. It was a half-empty bottle of Stolichnaya vodka. Griggs failed all field sobriety tests and, after his arrest, blood was drawn to determine his blood alcohol content. The body parts turned out to be containers of tissue from the private autopsy business where Griggs sometimes provided his services.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report.
Look for the next briefing on Monday, October 9, 2017.



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