A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp; Burlington, North Carolina) and ARCA Discovery (Denver), a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing genetically targeted therapies for heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, reported a collaboration to develop a genetic test to aid in prescribing bucindolol, a genetically-targeted heart failure drug in development by ARCA.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

More than 400,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the U.S. With this agreement, LabCorp and ARCA said they are closer to bringing personalized medicine to patients suffering from heart failure and other forms of heart disease.

The new test identifies common genetic variations of the alpha-2c and the beta-1 adrenergic receptors that regulate the human heart, the companies said.

In other agreements news:

Fujirebio Diagnostics (FDI; Malvern, Pennsylvania) and ARUP Laboratories (Salt Lake City) said they signed an agreement to offer the Mesomark Assay, the companies calling it the world’s first in vitro test for monitoring mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Beginning Feb. 26, all Mesomark patient samples will be tested by ARUP, using the company’s medical testing capabilities.

ARUP says it processes more than 25,000 specimens of blood, body fluid and tissue biopsies daily for clients throughout the U.S.

Monte Wiltse, VP of sales and marketing for Fujirebio, said, “By partnering with ARUP, we’re ensuring that this test is available to the largest and broadest audience, providing the best possible services for all physicians and their patients and the means to improve cancer outcomes.”

The Mesomark test kit was developed by Fujirebio to monitor patients confirmed as having mesothelioma, for recurrence in patients following surgery, or for measuring response to therapies.

Mesothelioma affects the sac lining the chest, the abdominal cavity or the area around the heart. Many people with this cancer have been employed in environments where they inhaled asbestos. Most insulation and construction materials manufactured before the mid-1970s contained asbestos, and more than 100 million people have been exposed to asbestos – often unknowingly – including shipyard workers, insulators, boilermakers, plumbers and maintenance workers.

Between 1979 and 2001, an estimated 43,000 people died from mesothelioma, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Mesomark received approval from the FDA under its Humanitarian Device Exemption protocol last month (Diagnostics & Imaging Week, Feb. 8, 2007).

Ronald Weiss, MD, president/COO of ARUP, said, “The ability to track this aggressive form of cancer with a blood test is a welcome addition to ARUP Laboratories’ comprehensive menu of services and to the armamentarium of physicians treating this serious disease.”