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LabCorp's Genomic Testing Drives Sales

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Laboratory Corporation of America's esoteric and genomic testing franchises will likely comprise a greater percentage of the company's revenues in the next five years, company officials said at a conference in September.

"Esoteric and genomic type testing — that's where a lot of our energies are focused in terms of margin growth," LabCorp Chief Financial Officer Brad Hayes said at the UBS Global Life Sciences Conference in New York.

Based on figures presented by Hayes, in the second quarter, genomic testing and esoteric testing together comprised 27 percent of the company's revenues. Over the years, these two sectors have grown at a faster pace than the company's core testing franchise.

"What we've seen in the last five years is that while our top line has grown at about 8.5 percent, the genomic and esoteric category has grown at almost 12 percent over that time compared to the routine or core [testing category] at 7 percent," Hayes said.

LabCorp breaks down its services into four parts: core, histology/cancer, genomic, and esoteric. In the second quarter, core and histology testing made up 66 percent and 8 percent of the revenue, respectively. Meanwhile, genomic testing and esoteric testing accounted for 15 percent and 12 percent of the second-quarter revenues, respectively.

Pointing out that the company's customer base is heavily concentrated in the medical testing arena, LabCorp CEO Dave King noted at the conference that the company is planning to stick with what it knows best.

"We think of ourselves as a medical testing services business. So we have our clinical pathology, which is our routine testing; our esoteric genetic testing, which is our DNA and cell-based testing; and anatomic pathology, which is tissue based," King said.

Although LabCorp identifies itself as a medical testing facility, earlier this year the firm took over genotyping services for DTC personal genomics firm 23andMe.

Turna Ray

PGx & Molecular Dx Notes

Qiagen acquired the biosystems business of Biotage, which includes pyrosequencing technology that will be used for molecular diagnostic applications, for approximately $53 million in cash and milestone payments of up to $7 million over the next four years.

The US Food and Drug Administration gave marketing clearance to the 7500 Fast Dx Real-Time PCR Instrument, a new molecular diagnostics tool made by Applied Biosystems for use with a flu virus panel.

Becton Dickinson made a $4.5 million equity investment in US Genomics, and the two companies expect to collaborate on the development of a molecular diagnostic test for infectious disease.

Datapoint

$25 million
Amount raised by Clinical Data through a private placement of newly issued common stock.

Funded grants

$251,843/FY 2008
micro RNAs as novel Biomarkers for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
Grantee: Murray Korc, Dartmouth College
Began: Aug. 1, 2008; Ends: Jul. 31, 2010
This NCI funding was awarded to Korc to study whether microRNAs might be good biomarkers for  human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. "Altered expression of specific subsets of miRNAs has been linked to different types of leukemias and solid tumors, and they appear to have potential clinical value as biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis and/or prognosis," the grant abstract says.

$473,745/FY 2008
Identification of Biomarkers for Early Detection of Renal Cell Carcinoma
Grantee: Othon Iliopoulos, Massachusetts General Hospital
Began: Sep. 15, 2008; Ends: Jul. 31, 2013
Iliopoulos and the MGH team will use this NCI funding to validate a series of cell-line derived candidate biomarkers for renal cell carcinoma. They'll also look for more biomarkers in blood and urine. "We propose to survey selectively the peptidome of urine and to cross-reference these findings with RCC related plasma peptidome and proteome changes," according to the abstract.

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