LabCorp inks a cancer deal with Covance in mind

LabCorp CEO David King

LabCorp ($LH), now the owner of CRO giant Covance, partnered up with Japan's Sysmex to bring in some new technology it believes will make its subsidiary more competitive in the market for oncology clinical trials.

Under the deal, Sysmex will provide its liquid biopsy technology, which allows for the molecular analysis of cell-free tumor DNA extracted from blood samples. The method provides fast, less-invasive alternative to traditional biopsies, Sysmex says, and LabCorp is adding the technology to Covance's arsenal of analytical tools for cancer studies.

Neither firm is disclosing financial details of the deal, saying only that Sysmex is on the hook to provide reagents and services to Covance as the CRO implements its liquid biopsy system. And as the partners come to understand how Sysmex's system works in clinical trials, they'll discuss expanding the relationship to cover diagnostics, LabCorp said.

LabCorp, a global giant in patient testing, paid $6 billion to acquire Covance and splash into the CRO business earlier this year. Through decades of running clinical trials and diagnostic tests, LabCorp and Covance have amassed longitudinal data on millions of patients, and their merger will help clients of all stripes make more informed decisions and pave the way for more cost-effective healthcare, the companies said.

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