During this year’s American Association for Clinical Chemistry conference in San Francisco, Dade Behring of Deerfield Ill., announced it will provide accredited continuing education and training for lab professionals.
     The Dade Behring University (DBU) curriculum will focus on providing PACE-accredited programs for laboratory technicians, technologists and managers. It will also offer ACCME-accredited courses for physicians and accredited instruction for clinical pathologists, Board-certified clinical scientists and microbiologists, doctoral scientists, residents and fellows, nurses, hospital administrators and managed care providers.
     DBU programs will inform medical practitioners and administrators about new markers, indicators and assays that could improve disease diagnosis, better patient care and decrease costs. Initial program seminars will be held around the United States and by audio conference. Tutorials also are being planned for distribution on CD-ROM and via the Internet.
     DBU’s first academic dean is Elmer Koneman, M.D., former head of clinical laboratories, University of Illinois, Chicago and currently professor emeritus at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. Since his retirement in 1988, Koneman has designed several CD-ROM tutorials for clinicians. He has presented more than 1,000 workshops and tutorials over 30 years, written numerous articles and co-authored several medical textbooks.
     Koneman said the university’s programs will help laboratories stay current with the latest practices and techniques without the added expense of travel and time away from work. An advisory board of prominent lab educators, physicians and opinion leaders will help guide DBU curriculum and content.

Hemagen Diagnostics hires director, VP & sales manager
Hemagen Diagnostics of Columbia, Md., has appointed James R. LeRoy to its board of directors. The company also appointed Michael O. Frick as vice president of sales and marketing, and John J. Zak as sales manager for blood products.
photoLeRoy is the founder and general manager of Cogent Technologies, a privately held company that markets analytical testing systems and instruments to the industrial microbiology market. Prior to that, he served as vice president of sales and marketing at Meridian Diagnostics.
photoFrick has 20-plus years of sales and marketing experience in the medical diagnostics industry. He served most recently as publisher for Clinical Lab Products and was sales manager at Biopool International. He also served as vice president of sales and marketing for Medical Wire and Equipment Co., and sales manager at DPC.
photoZak has eight-plus years of experience in sales and technical applications of medical diagnostic products and 20 years of technical experience in lab medicine, including 15 years in management. He has held titles at Biopool International, Sysmex Corp. of America and Baxter Diagnostics Inc.

photoUS Navy pilot program to test Careside analyzer on ships
The U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command has initiated a pilot placement of the Careside’s analyzer and its H-2000 hematology units aboard a Navy support ship.
     The MSC division has contracted with Careside of Culver City, Calif., to install and use its analyzer in a “pilot evaluation.” The purpose of this program is to evaluate the Careside analyzers in a dynamic setting. The duration of the pilot has not been fixed, but it is tied to a specific number of patients tested.
     W. Vickery Stoughton, Careside’s chairman and CEO, said the pilot is the first step in a process that determines if the analyzer will meet Navy requirements for testing on ships at sea. Information from the study will help support a launch of Careside analyzers into these markets.
     According to the Navy, the MSC Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force is the lifeline to U.S. Navy ships at sea. NFAF provides the force with fuel, food, ammunition, spare parts and other supplies. The NFAF ships include ocean tugs, oilers, ammunition and combat ships and two hospital ships, which provide emergency, on-site care for combat forces.

Sigma-Aldrich acquires First Medical for POC AMI test
St. Louis-based Sigma-Aldrich Corp. has acquired First Medical Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., developer of the Alpha DX, a rapid immunoassay system designed to provide quick and accurate diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. The acquisition should enhance the company’s position in cardiac point-of-care testing.
     The Alpha DX system will be used with Sigma reagents in hospital emergency rooms, coronary care units and physicians’ offices to provide quantitative results that distinguish heart attacks from other benign causes of chest pain. The FDA-cleared system is expected to be available in 2001, according to Sigma-Aldrich. The Alpha DX platform is also extendable to other clinical decision support applications.
     A Sigma-Aldrich spokesperson said successful commercialization of the system will improve Sigma-Diagnostics’ position in the $450 million cardiac market and provide a strong entry position in the $20 million cardiac POC market, which is expected to grow in excess of 50 percent per year to $180 million by 2005.

Streck completes state-of-the-art laboratory in Nebraska
Streck Laboratories Inc. of Omaha, Neb., has completed a new state-of-the-art laboratory manufacturing facility in La Vista, Neb. The $12 million plant, located on 14 acres, will house production, administration and headquarters.
     Streck, which develops and manufactures hematology reference controls, distributes its products in the 50 states and 40-plus countries.
     Phase One, completed in 1995, includes a 26,000-square-foot reagent manufacturing facility. In 1999 construction began on a 114,000- square-foot building, which will include 88,000 square feet of research laboratory, manufacturing and warehouse space and 26,000 square feet for administrative offices.

Diagnostic Deals

Under a new $15 million, six-year contract, Beckman Coulter of Fullerton, Calif., is the sole-source provider of diagnostic instruments and consumables for the core lab at Oakwood Healthcare System Laboratories in Dearborn, Mich. The system serves six general hospitals and five hospital laboratories. The contract covers chemistry, immunodiagnostics, hematology, hemostasis and automation.

The company also inked an estimated $35 million a year agreement with Premier, one of the largest U.S. healthcare alliances. Effective July 1, Beckman Coulter started providing hematology instrument systems and supplies to Premier’s membership alliance, which purchases approximately $10 billion in products annually.

Dade Behring Inc. of Deerfield, Ill., manufacturer of Syva Emit drugs of abuse and therapeutic drug monitoring reagents, and the Diagnostics Systems Group of Olympus America Inc. in Melville, N.Y., announced at AACC that they will enter a U.S. sales, marketing and distribution relationship. The agreement allows Dade Behring to sell Olympus analyzers to high-volume toxicology laboratories, while Olympus can sell directly to select high-volume customers and non-Syva accounts. Olympus has also secured an exclusive agreement to distribute the Syva Emit II Plus liquid DAT reagents and Emit 2000 liquid TDM reagents in packaged Olympus cassettes to hospitals and labs that use Olympus analyzers. Both companies can sell to their respective customers Syva EMIT reagents for TDM and DAT in bar-coded Olympus cassettes.

Lab information system provider Triple G Systems of Markham, Ontario, announced that ViroLogic Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif., has selected Triple G’s Ultra solution to automate and integrate its lab environment. ViroLogic develops and markets products to guide and improve the treatment of viral diseases.

LabCorp of Burlington, N.C., has completed its acquisition of Los Angeles-based National Genetics Institute Inc.

Sybron International Corp. of Milwaukee, announced that its subsidiary, Laboratory Products Group SLP, has agreed to acquire Abbott’s murex bacteriology latex agglutination product line. Products acquired include antisera, agglutination reagents, latex reagents and stained suspensions. The Murex business represents a product line extension for SLP’s microbiology subsidiary, Alexon-Trend.

In other Abbott news, Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., president and COO, will retire on Jan. 31, 2001, after nearly 25 years of service. Parkinson will serve in an advisory role until his retirement. Also announced was a new leadership structure effective August 1, 2000. The new reporting structure replaces the president and COO position with a new structure designed to provide strategic and leadership focus in three core areas; pharmaceuticals, medical products and Ross products. Existing divisional organization structures will remain the same.

Igen International Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., owner of the proprietary Origen technology platform for biological detection, signed an agreement with Bayer Diagnostics of Tarrytown, N.Y., to explore new products based on Igen’s Tricorder diagnostic detection module and Bayer’s clinical products for the hospital point-of-care testing market. Bayer will provide funding for the alliance. The Tricorder, a self-contained diagnostic detection module suited for POC testing, is based on Igen’s proprietary Origen technology, which enables immunodiagnostic and nucleic acid probe-based measurements. Fran Tuttle, senior vice president of near patient testing for Bayer Diagnostics, said the alliance should allow Bayer to expand its already broad test menus.