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In Brief This Week: Quest Diagnostics, Solstas Lab, Summit Health; Venaxis; MolecularHealth; ValueOptions, Genomind

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Quest Diagnostics this week said that it completed its acquisition of full-service commercial laboratory firm Solstas Lab Partners Group and its subsidiaries for $570 million. In connection with the deal, Quest raised its guidance for full-year 2014. Revenues are now expected to grow between 2 percent and 4 percent, compared to full-year 2013. It previously said 2014 revenue was anticipated to be flat to down 2 percent year over year, excluding the Solstas purchase. Adjusted 2014 EPS was also raised to a range of $3.95 to $4.15, up from a previous range of $3.90 to $4.10. The new guidance also reflects "unseasonable harsh winter weather conditions" during February, which negatively impacted Quest's operations, the company said. The impact of the weather to its first quarter adjusted EPS is estimated to be about $.10.

Separately, Quest also said that it plans to buy Summit Health for an undisclosed amount. Based in Novi, Mich., Summit Health has a national network of nurses who staff on-site wellness programs for employers, health plans, retail clinics, and other wellness-focused organizations. Its services include biometric and other health screenings.

Venaxis announced positive top-line results from the pivotal US study for its APPY1 Test for the identification of patients at low risk for appendicitis. The protein biomarker-based test had a negative predictive value of 97.3 percent, sensitivity of 96.9 percent, and specificity of 37.8 percent, Venaxis said. It added that it believes the results are "sufficient for potential [US Food and Drug Administration] clearance." The Colorado firm said it expects to file its 510(k) submission with the agency "in the next few weeks." Venaxis completed the first futility analysis of APPY1 last summer.

MolecularHealth has opened a new office in Newton, Mass., which will be staffed by members of the company's commercial and business development operations. Chief Commercial Officer Laura Housman is running the office. In January, MolecularHealth announced the opening of its US headquarters and clinical lab in The Woodlands, Texas.

ValueOptions and Genomind will conduct a study using pharmacogenomic testing to treat patients diagnosed with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The study will be conducted at North Shore-LIJ Health System's Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, NY. The study will compare outcomes from a treatment group using Genomind's Genecept Assay for guidance with a group treated without the use of the assay. The goal is to determine the effectiveness of testing, the impact of testing on treatment decisions, and the impact on resource utilization. Patient recruitment for the study will begin in the second quarter of this year.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

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