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At JP Morgan, LabCorp CEO Discusses Plans for Expanded Genomic Testing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Laboratory Corporation of America is planning on expanding its portfolio of genomics-based diagnostics, CEO David King said this week at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.

"We never want to get away from the core [testing] business, because the core business is very fundamental to the delivery of healthcare and to patient care," King said in his presentation, which was webcast. "But we want to migrate the business to where we can continue to be seen as a value adder in the value chain."

King highlighted a number of focus areas in line with this strategy, including improved capabilities in laboratory standardization, providing decision support, and the introduction of more next-generation sequencing based tests.

King said the company launched 152 new tests in 2013, including genomic tests like the IntelliGen assay that gauges mutations in 56 oncogenes, the NGS-based GeneSeq test for cardiomyopathy, and its BRCAssure BRCA 1/2 test for identifying patients with BRCA mutations at risk of developing breast, ovarian, and other cancers.

LabCorp will continue to advance NGS-based diagnostics in 2014, King said, noting that the company plans to convert its HLA testing to an NGS-based platform, offer universal carrier screening, and perform additional gene panels in areas such as cystic fibrosis. This quarter, the company will begin offering NanoString's Prosigna Breast Cancer Prognostic Gene Signature Assay.

In the past, LabCorp officials have talked about the continued pressure on the company's molecular testing business from reduced government payments and ongoing reimbursement challenges. "In 2014, we want to take a comprehensive review of our cost structures starting with our lab footprint, also reviewing our … corporate structure to see if there are additional opportunities for cost reductions," King said at the JP Morgan meeting.

LabCorp is scheduled to report its fourth quarter and full-year 2013 financial results on Feb. 7.