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Lab21 sheds SC clinical services business

The U.K. company stresses it will continue to seek U.S. Dx opportunities
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Lab21 says it is unloading its South Carolina clinical services business in order to focus more on its diagnostics business. The buyers: Local management and investors under the name Reedy Acquisitions.

Neither side disclosed financial terms, though U.K.-based Lab21 explained why it was selling the operation: It is "a loss-making business" for the company after three years of work trying to make it viable.

Lab21 CFO Susan Lowther explained in a statement that the company will continue to focus on personalized medicine, as well as diagnostics-related business opportunities within the U.S. market.

Those "opportunities" include a deal signed in late 2012 with Becton Dickinson ($BDX) to develop PCR-based cancer tests for BD's Max diagnostic platform. The initial two targets envisioned for the tests involve screening for both the KRAS and BRAF genes--mutations that can indicate lung, colorectal and a number of other cancers. This expands a relationship initially forged between the two companies to develop a diagnostic assay to detect the Aspirgillus fungus.

In June, Lab21 also signed an agreement with an unnamed Big Pharma company giving it the task of developing and jointly marketing a companion diagnostic designed to detect specific mutations in colorectal cancer samples, and the test would go with the company's therapeutic monoclonal antibody. Previous partnership deals include agreements with Amgen ($AMGN) and AstraZeneca ($AZN).

- read the release

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