nd01.jpg (7029 bytes)Thermo Electron to Acquire Jouan SA
Thermo Electron Corporation of Waltham, Mass, has signed an agreement to acquire laboratory equipment provider Jouan SA for 110.9 million euros (approximately $124 million US) in cash plus the assumption of approximately 7.1 million euros ($8 million US) of consolidated net debt. Jouan is a global supplier of products used by life science researchers in academic, pharmaceutical, biotech, and clinical markets to prepare and preserve laboratory samples.

nd01.jpg (7029 bytes)With total estimated sales of approximately 82 million euros (approximately $92 million US) in 2003, Jouan’s offerings include centrifuges, biological safety cabinets, ultralow-temperature freezers, and incubators. In addition to its own brand name, Jouan’s products are sold worldwide under the Precision, NAPCO, Heto, Holten, and ALC brands. Jouan is based in Saint-Herblain, France, and has manufacturing operations in France, Denmark, Italy, the Czech Republic, and the United States.

“Jouan is a great example of a strategic acquisition that builds on Thermo’s strengths by broadening our sample preparation and storage product lines, sales channels, and geographic market coverage,” says Marijn E. Dekkers, president and CEO of Thermo Electron. “Jouan’s strong position in centrifuges and biological safety cabinets complements our own market strength in incubators and freezers. The combination of Jouan’s extensive network of distributors, which covers Western Europe and emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America, with our direct sales force serving North America and Asia will significantly expand our geographical reach. For our customers, this means that we will be better equipped to provide a full range of laboratory solutions all from one source.”

The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals in several countries, is expected to be completed by the end of 2003.

nd03.jpg (6857 bytes)International Remote Imaging Systems Announces First Shipments of iQ200 System
International Remote Imaging Systems Inc, manufacturer and marketer of automated IVD urinalysis systems and medical devices used in hospitals and clinical reference laboratories, announced the first shipments of the company’s new iQ™ 200 product platform. The iQ200 Automated Urinalysis System (iQ200) integrates both the chemistry and the microscopic analysis of urine. The iQ200 is designed to streamline workflow, increase testing capacity, and improve diagnostic quality in clinical laboratories. The system consists of two modules, one for chemistry and another for microscopy, integrated by a sample transport module and a single Laboratory Information System (LIS) interface. The iQ200 features completely redesigned neural network–based Auto-Particle Recognition (APR) software. The iQ200 product platform will be sold in two configurations: the iQ200 System that integrates the iQ200 Automated Urine Microscopy Analyzer (iQ200 Analyzer) with the chemistry system, the AUTION MAX ™ AX-4280, and the stand-alone iQ200 Analyzer.

nd03.jpg (6857 bytes)AAB Proficiency Testing Service Announces 2004 Programs
The 2004 multidisciplinary proficiency testing service offered by the Proficiency Testing Service of the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) includes programs in chemistry, clinical microscopy and urinalysis, coagulation, embryology, andrology, fetal fibronectin, hematology, immunohematology, immunology, and microbiology. The AAB Proficiency Testing Service’s external quality control programs are designed to meet the needs of laboratories ranging from a one-person, specialty laboratory to an automated, full-service laboratory. Those interested in obtaining an enrollment form or a 2004 catalog of AAB Proficiency Testing Service programs and analytes can visit www.aab.org

Association for Laboratory Automation and Laboratory Robotics Interest Group Create Partnership
The Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) and the Laboratory Robotics Interest Group (LRIG) have partnered in an effort to enable both organizations to develop and act on new initiatives and synergistic opportunities.

As part of the newly developed Friends of the ALA program, LRIG will play an active role in LabAutomation 2004, February 1–5 in San Jose, Calif, and ALA LabFusion 2004, June 12–16 in Boston. The Friends of the ALA program allows other organizations to conduct regular business meetings and educational functions at virtually no cost.

“LRIG is a tremendously influential organization and a powerful engine for intellectual capital,” says ALA president Tony Beugelsdijk. “We are very much looking forward to collaborating on content development for our events and other like initiatives.”

LRIG executive chairman Andy Zaayenga is already involved in developing an emerging technologies program for LabAutomation 2004. LRIG leadership will also participate as part of the scientific committee developing the overall educational program and the new Friends of the ALA program.

nd05.jpg (10048 bytes)TREK Installs Its First Limited Release Microbial Detection System
TREK Diagnostic Systems has installed its first limited release VersaTREK Automated Microbial Detection System at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove, Ill. “A new page has turned in the annals of automated blood culture systems with the release of VersaTREK into the marketplace,” says Les Stutzman, global director of marketing for TREK.

The VersaTREK System was designed to offer the latest technology in automated microbial detection systems. It allows laboratorians to conduct four tests on a single platform: blood culture, sterile body fluid culture, Mycobacteria detection, and M. tuberculosis susceptibility testing.

The system has enhanced ergonomics, utilizes TREK’s “Any Bottle Anywhere Concept” for maximum utilization, and features Microsoft® Windows-based software with one-touch access to all patient information and reports.

Cytyc and Lakewood Pathology Associates Sign Agreement
Cytyc Corporation and Lakewood Pathology Associates have agreed to install Cytyc’s ThinPrep® Imaging System at Lakewood Pathology Associates’ New Jersey facility. The ThinPrep Imaging System is a fully integrated, interactive computer system that assists cytotechnologists and pathologists in the primary screening and diagnosis of ThinPrep Pap Test slides. The ThinPrep Imaging System combines imaging technology with human interpretive expertise to improve cervical cancer screening efficiency and performance.

“We are excited to further strengthen our position on the leading edge of automated cervical cancer screening,” says M. Nasar Qureshi, MD, PhD, Lakewood Pathology Associates chairman and chief medical officer. “Lakewood Pathology is one of the first ThinPrep Pap Test facilities in the United States, so we are well aware of the unparalleled clinical benefits of this cervical cancer screening technology. Implementation of the ThinPrep Imaging System will allow us to continue to grow our laboratory business while maintaining the clinical excellence that our customers have come to expect.”

nd06.jpg (12340 bytes)Rhodes Group Announces Release of Integrated Results and Report Modules
Rhodes Group Inc, a laboratory management and IT consulting firm, has announced the release and availability of integrated results and report modules for Fast Platform™, the company’s interfaced front-end client, collection facility, and physician office group order entry solution. The modules were designed to communicate and distribute all available lab results, including general lab, microbiology, blood bank, and pathology data.

“Instant access to HIPAA-compliant lab results and reports, secure browser-independent data communication, built-in physician annotation capabilities, and highlighted priority and abnormal result display are integrated within order and registration components of the Fast Platform,” says Sebastian Leonardi, director of business development for Rhodes Group.

“Fast Results™ is capable of presenting numeric, textual, graphical, word processing, and PDF-based information in an integrated manner using a web browser,” says Sam Merkouriou, chief executive officer of Rhodes Group.” “This solution permits lab clients to customize presentation parameters, easily navigate through available information, annotate important data, and bookmark lab results for later review. Consequently, lab clients can also convey laboratory information through email to additional providers.”

The Fast Reports™ module allows the lab to communicate result information from all internal sources and provides push-pull functionality regarding distribution of lab-initiated data and client-initiated retrieval of results.

nd07.jpg (8390 bytes)Novation Awards Hematology Contract to Sysmex
Sysmex America Inc has signed a 3-year contract with Novation, the supply company of VHA Inc and University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), to provide hematology analyzers, reagents, and consumables to the more than 2,300 VHA and UHC hospitals and health care facilities served by Novation. The contract is effective November 1, 2003 through October 31, 2006, with two 1-year renewal options. Estimated hospital purchases through the agreement over the initial 3-year period are $50 million.

Under the contract, Sysmex will offer to supply VHA and UHC members with the comprehensive Sysmex hematology portfolio, including the KX-21N™ for small laboratories, and the fully automated XE-Alpha N™ and HST N™ Series systems with automated slide preparation capabilities. Also included are the Sysmex XE-2100™ Automated Hematology Analyzer and the Sysmex XT-2000I™ Automated Hematology Analyzer, both of which use the same fluorescent flow technology platform, user interface, and reagents and controls for standardization.

nd08.jpg (9414 bytes)Beckman Coulter Partners with R&D Systems to Expand Immunoassay Portfolio
Beckman Coulter Inc has entered into an agreement with R&D Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Techne Corporation. Effective immediately, the non-exclusive, multiyear agreement calls for R&D Systems to develop automated cytokine assays and to manufacture assay components designed for Beckman Coulter’s Access® family of immunoassay systems, including the UniCel DxI™ 800 immunoassay system and SYNCHRON LX®I 725 clinical system. New assays are expected to be commercially available beginning in 2004.

R&D Systems will develop and manufacture immunoassays based on Beckman Coulter’s magnetic particle, chemiluminescent immunoassay technology. The initial focus of the agreement will serve to expand Beckman Coulter’s position in anemia testing to include Erythropoietin, a principal cytokine factor regulating red blood cell production, and Soluble Transferrin Receptor (STFR), which is considered the best indicator of iron deficiency.

Beckman Coulter currently offers an array of tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of anemia. These include complete blood cell count and reticulocyte parameters, which are run on Beckman Coulter’s hematology analyzers, and serum iron, iron binding capacity ferritin, vitamin B12, and folate assays, which are run on the company’s chemistry and immunochemistry analyzers. The addition of new assays for biologicals and cytokines will further enhance Beckman Coulter’s portfolio of products and expand the diagnostic capabilities of its customers.

Cytokines are a vast array of pharmacologically active proteins that are secreted by cells for the purpose of controlling either their own functions or those of adjacent cells. Their role within hematopoietic, inflammatory, and immune systems has shown great significance in the development of therapeutic strategies.

Radiometer and Premier to Pilot New Blood Gas Training Program
Radiometer America and Premier will launch a program that offers CEU-accredited training in the clinical applications of blood gas testing. The program, administered by Radiometer and offered to Premier Supply Chain Solutions field and support personnel, will cover basic blood gas physiology, role and operation of the blood gas laboratory, the role of blood gas information in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, regulatory compliance, and the blood gas marketplace.

The two-and-a-half day pilot training sessions will be held at Radiometer America’s headquarters in Westlake, OH, on an ongoing basis. Training sessions will also be made available at various hospital locations in conjunction with Radiometer America’s customer training programs. A web-based version of the training is under development.

nd09.jpg (7666 bytes)Beckman Coulter and HealthTrust Purchasing Group Sign New Hematology Agreement
Beckman Coulter Inc has renewed and expanded its agreement with Health Trust Purchasing Group (HPG) in Brentwood, Tenn, to provide hematology instrument systems, tests, and supplies to HPG members.

The agreement encompasses Beckman Coulter’s entire line of hematology products, including the company’s new LH1500 series, a line of automation systems that can manage the entire hematology testing process from pre-analytical sorting to post-analytical storage. The contract also features terms for flow cytometry instrument systems, software, and accessories, including the Cytomics FC 500, COULTER EPICS® ALTRA™, and COULTER EPICS XL™ flow cytometers.

nd10.jpg (21751 bytes)New Test to Determine Immune Response to Anthrax Vaccine
A new test strip can evaluate an individual’s immune response to the anthrax vaccine in less than 20 minutes. The invention combines saliva-sampling technology with specific reagents for determining anthrax vaccine efficacy. The test is noninvasive and does not require a syringe to collect blood.

Patented and developed by the Naval Institute for Dental and Biomedical Research (NIDBR) in Great Lakes, Ill, the invention was recently licensed to Bamburgh Marrsh LLC, a company that develops and sells saliva-based diagnostic products for laboratory and field use. The TechLink center with the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Md, helped ensure the transfer of rights from the Navy to Bamburgh Marrsh for use of the test device technology with its proprietary sample collection technology, Saliva Sampler®. In addition to the license, a collaborative research and development study is being undertaken to optimize the test with the Saliva Sampler and to gather additional data for rapid 510(k) FDA clearance.

According to its developers, the commercialization of this invention is important because immunization against anthrax is expensive and requires a series of vaccinations, and current laboratory tests of immune response can take 1 or 2 days using conventional immunoassays. This test would also help, in the case of a large-scale biowarfare incident, to quickly separate those individuals requiring further vaccination from those fully immunized.

nd11.jpg (8780 bytes)Quest Diagnostics Offers InSure™ Colorectal Cancer Screening Test
Quest Diagnostics Inc has begun to offer InSure™, an FDA-cleared fecal immunochemical test to detect the presence of blood in stool samples. The test is intended to help physicians screen for colorectal cancer at an early stage in patients who are at average risk. Earlier this year, Quest Diagnostics and Enterix Inc, a privately held colorectal cancer screening company, announced that they had entered into an agreement for Quest Diagnostics to offer InSure.

“Increasing compliance with screening guidelines is the key to reducing the number of cases of colorectal cancer, which is a preventable disease,” says Jack Mandel, PhD, MPH, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and lead investigator for the clinical trial of guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests. “InSure offers physicians a screening tool that has been shown to have greater compliance than guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests.”

nd12.jpg (8431 bytes)Apogent Acquires Porex Bio Products
Apogent Technologies Inc has announced the acquisition of Porex Bio Products, a manufacturer of plastic consumables for the clinical and research markets. In addition, Apogent recently acquired certain operating assets of the pipette, vial, and tube business of Meteor Glass Corporation.

Porex Bio Products will be known as Quality Scientific Plastics Inc (QSP) and will be integrated operationally with Molecular BioProducts, an Apogent subsidiary. Net sales from this acquisition for the first full year are expected to approximate $30 million.

Lab Software Recalled
Misys Healthcare Systems of Tucson has recalled a version of its computer software used by laboratories because of a glitch that could cause errors in patient care. The B-AUT-RAPID-LAB software version 5.2, 5.23, and 5.3 offers a quality-assurance check to flag test results that are unusual in some way. However, Misys discovered the software has a glitch that makes it shut off when it is programmed for a specific combination of double-checks, including those ordered in emergencies.

At press time, no injuries had been reported. The US Food and Drug Administration helped Misys publicize the recall to ensure that laboratories learned about it as soon as possible.