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Robust Times for Diagnostic Companies

Executive Summary

The diagnostic industry's buoyant health was evident at this year's American Association for Clinical Chemistry meeting in Los Angeles. Floor space was sold out and attendance hit a record. In contrast to a malaise in the industry through much of the 1990s, diagnostics now have reimbursement, demographic, and labor shortage trends in their favor. At $24.9 billion in revenues, experts say the industry is poised to deliver another year of double-digit growth, following an 11% gain in 2003.

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The in vitro diagnostics industry has looked for years to point-of-care testing in hospitals as a growth segment. The premise is sound--easy-to-use tests performed near the patient will yield faster results that enable physicians to make better on-the-spot treatment decisions. In reality, hospital demand is increasing, but not as fast as expected. A recent survey of one-third of US hospitals with 150 beds or more, by Enterprise Analysis Corp. seeks to understand POCT usage and demand trends.

On the Verge of a Deal for Dade Behring

A year ago, Dade Behring, the nation's sixth largest diagnostics company, was facing a huge debt and very angry debt holders. Now, the company seems close to a deal that would allow it to cut the debt in half (to about $750 million) and give debtholders full ownership of Dade Behring. The company would file a voluntary pre-packaged bankruptcy in federal court, which would also enable it to start trading securities on the public equities market. Nothing is finalized, but sources say the company is confident it will prevail. Meanwhile, its financial performance is picking up, with strong growth in all core product lines.

Dade Behring's Recap Plans

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