Siemens Plans Initial Public Offering for Healthcare Business

Siemens plans to publicly list its $15 billion healthcare business, Siemens Healthineers, which includes the company’s in vitro diagnostics business, as well as imaging, other medical devices, and telehealth. This decision will complete a move started in May 2014 when Siemens declared its intent to set up its healthcare business as a “company within the company” so that the business could adjust to transformations in the healthcare market with greater flexibility. Siemens will announce more details at a later time regarding the exact date and scope of Siemens Healthineers’ public listing, which will depend partly on the stock market environment.

According to healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information, the divestiture of Siemens Healthineers makes sense from an in vitro diagnostics market perspective. “Publicly listing the company may provide resources and independent focus to help them reach into higher revenue growth categories and also compete with myriad companies on reaching mid-level with their Atellica solution,” said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. “There are a few positives, but it stands out that the top two competitors in this space are all-healthcare companies that can find synergies in-house.”

The diagnostics division of Siemens Healthineers includes products for a broad range of laboratory medicine specialties, from drug testing and hematology to microbiology and molecular diagnostics. Recently, Siemens Healthineers also announced plans to expand its informatics capabilities for point-of-care (POC) testing with the acquisition of Conworx Technology, a Berlin-based developer of POC device interfaces and data management solutions. Conworx’s team of 75 employees will merge with the Siemens Healthineers team to become Siemens Healthineers Point-of-Care Informatics. 

SeraCare, UK NEQAS Collaborate on Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing EQA Program 

SeraCare Life Sciences has joined forces with the United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) to support one of the first global noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) external quality assessment (EQA) programs, which UK NEQAS is spearheading in collaboration with two other EQA providers. UK NEQAS plans to incorporate into the program the Seraseq aneuploidy reference material product line, which is the industry’s first full-process reference material for assessing NIPT performance. These reference materials contain precise mixtures of normal female DNA and fetal DNA derived from the trophoblast cells of confirmed trisomies, fragmented to a size distribution similar to the natural cell-free DNA size profile, and stabilized and blended into a plasmalike matrix under proprietary technology developed at SeraCare.

“There is a lack of patientlike reference material that can be used by the diverse group of NIPT providers to ensure accuracy, consistency, and reliable peer comparison,” said Sandi Deans, PhD, director of UK NEQAS for Molecular Genetics. “Through this collaboration with SeraCare, we want to ensure that clinical laboratories have access to robust and relevant materials.”  

Mayo Clinic to Pilot Illumina Bioinformatics Tools for Genetic Disorder Testing 

Illumina has teamed with the Mayo Clinic to improve Mayo’s reporting workflows for researching inherited disease, while also obtaining feedback for the ongoing development of an informatics platform and knowledge base designed to automate genomic interpretation. As part of the agreement, Mayo Clinic will pilot Illumina’s BaseSpace software solutions, using these tools to annotate and interpret genetic variants for their potential role in the development and progression of diseases. Specifically, Mayo will implement Illumina’s BaseSpace Clarity LIMS in certain laboratories to provide testing of the tool. This system provides comprehensive workflow tracking and integration in laboratories. Mayo will also use Illumina’s BaseSpace Sequence Hub, a cloud-based genomic computing environment for data analysis and management, and BaseSpace Variant Interpreter, a cloud-based interpretation and reporting platform designed to decrease the time and effort required to analyze genomic data. 

Three Insurers to Cover Biodesix’ Lung Cancer Test 

Humana, Medical Mutual of Ohio, and PreferredOne health plans all have established reimbursement coverage of Biodesix’ VeriStrat test, a proteomic blood test for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Humana is a national provider of healthcare with 9.6 million enrolled members; Medical Mutual is the oldest and largest healthcare insurance company headquartered in Ohio and has 1.6 million enrolled members; and PreferredOne has 285,000 members in the state of Minnesota. Altogether, an additional 11.5 million Americans will now have insurance coverage for VeriStrat. VeriStrat provides clinicians with prognostic and predictive information to guide treatment of advanced NSCLC. The test is also often employed as part of the Biodesix Lung Reflex testing strategy, which combines genomic mutation testing and proteomic testing to provide more complete information on tumor mutation status as well as the patient’s immune response to the tumor. 

Horizon Discovery to Provide cfDNA Reference Standards for Transplant Testing 

Horizon Discovery Group has entered an original equipment manufacturer agreement with CareDx, a molecular diagnostics company focused on developing tests for transplant patient surveillance. Under the terms of the collaboration, Horizon will supply cell-free DNA (cfDNA)-based molecular reference standards that CareDx will include in its cfDNA testing workflows for monitoring organ transplant rejection. “The inclusion of Horizon’s reference standards as a routine tool used by CareDx demonstrates that Horizon is becoming a trusted provider of controls in the liquid biopsy space, and that they are equally valuable for applications beyond oncology,” said Darrin M. Disley, PhD, CEO of Horizon Discovery.

This partnership builds on an existing collaboration between the two companies, through which Horizon is developing HDx cell-free reference standards to support proficiency testing of CareDx’s solid organ transplant injury monitoring test, AlloSure.