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In Brief This Week: Quest, Solstas Labs; Abcam; VolitionRX; GeneNews

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Quest Diagnostics this week announced a definitive agreement to buy full-service commercial laboratory firm Solstas Lab Partners for $570 million. Quest is buying Solstas from private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe. Based in Greensboro, NC, Solstas operates in nine states in the Southeastern US. Quest said the deal is anticipated to add about 5 percent in annualized revenues and to be "modestly" accretive to adjusted EPS in 2014. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of the year.

Also, Fitch Ratings placed Quest's rating on Rating Watch Negative, saying it expects Quest's leverage to increase as a result of the deal. The rating action applies to about $3.37 billion of outstanding debt. Fitch placed the Rating Watch Negative on Quest's issuer default rating, senior unsecured debt rating, and bank loan rating. All have a BBB+ rating.

Protein research tools firm Abcam is opening a new office in Shanghai in February. It is the UK-based company's ninth global office and will "support Abcam's focus on increasing geographic reach and improving distribution channels to rapidly growing markets," it said. The office will house customer and technical support functions.

VolitionRx has commenced blood sample analysis for its largest clinical study in collaboration with Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark. Samples from about 4,800 patients collected between 2010 and 2012 are being entered into a blind retrospective study to further establish the accuracy of VolitionRx's NuQ assay for use in the initial screening of colorectal cancer.

GeneNews has made its ColonSentry test available throughout the US and added EarlyCDT-Lung to the menu of tests available through its joint venture Innovative Diagnostic Laboratory. EarlyCDT-Lung is a blood test for physicians to assess risk and detect lung cancer in high-risk, asymptomatic patients. The test was licensed to IDL from GeneNews' joint venture partner Health Diagnostic Laboratory.

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

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