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Digene's Long Road Towards a Blockbuster

After spending a decade developing its technology and product development capabilities, centered on testing for human papillomavirus, the cause of cervical cancer, Digene Corp. is growing its top line and finally gaining visibility. Now, the question is whether it can validate its test clinically and secure its market position, which means dislodging an entrenched cytology infrastructure. If successful, the company could become a superstar. On the other hand, its proprietary position could be undermined by other cervical cancer markers that appear downstream of initial HPV infection and have a higher correlation with disease. And Digene's focus on the HPV product opportunity has limited its efforts in developing its core technology at a time when other companies are dedicating significant resources to similar efforts.

Medical Device Platform Technologies

Consolidation & Competition in the Life Sciences

The recent merger of Amersham Life Sciences and Pharmacia Upjohn's Pharmacia Biotech creates the biggest player in the research-based biotechnology industry, with combined pro forma sales of $700 million. Will the deal lead to a wave of consolidation in the industry, as suppliers try to keep up with fewer, bigger, and ever more biotech-driven big pharma customers?

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