Mayo Clinic to support one of China’s largest clinical laboratory companies
In a trans-Pacific Ocean collaboration with major implications, two important players in clinical laboratory and anatomic pathology testing in their respective countries have inked a multi-year pact. On June 27, 2011, Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota, announced its agreement with Wuhan Kindstar Globalgene Technology, Inc. (Kindstar), of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
In the press release it issued about the agreement, Mayo Clinic said that it would support Kindstar by providing “specialized laboratory support based on provision of knowledge from Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and its reference laboratory, Mayo Medical Laboratories.” Mayo Clinic also said that it will receive equity in Kindstar and had participated in Kindstar’s Series B financing, which raised approximately U.S. $11 million.
Kindstar Has a Sizeable Medical Laboratory Testing Business in China
Kindstar has a growing book of medical laboratory testing business. It was founded in 2003 and currently provides reference and esoteric testing services to 2,000 hospitals in China. In particular, Kindstar says that its diagnostic services “help physicians properly diagnose disease and allow them to develop treatment plans for patients suffering from hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and genetic diseases.”
China is the world’s most populous nation, with 1.3 billion people and its healthcare system is spending huge amounts of money to create the infrastructure and the clinical resources needed to serve its vast population. For this reason, China is a prime target for in vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturers and other types of clinical laboratory companies looking for sources of growth.
Statements by Kindstar and Mayo Clinic indicate that this agreement will allow Kindstar to access new medical laboratory tests developed by pathologists and laboratory scientists at Mayo. As stated in the press release, “Mayo Clinic will provide advice on tests, laboratory quality, and accreditation standards, as well as test information, including standard operating procedures (SOPs) and methodologies, to help Kindstar accelerate its development and launch of high-quality esoteric tests in China. Mayo Clinic clinicians will also be available to provide knowledge regarding the medical and technical benefits of tests.”
This is consistent with the types of agreements announced in recent years involving prominent clinical laboratory and pathology departments in the United States with a medical laboratory counterpart in China. For example, academic pathology departments at both the University of Pittsburgh (at UPMC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, have announced agreements with medical centers in China to provide advanced anatomic pathology services that utilize digital pathology technologies.
Expect More Pathology Service Agreements with China, Other Countries
Furthermore, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers should expect to see other leading academic medical centers in the United States enter into agreements with hospitals and healthcare organizations in China in coming years. Not only is there a need for advanced healthcare technology and clinical knowledge to be shared, but the possibility of generating revenue from this partnerships and agreements will also be a motivating factor.
Of course, all of this supports further globalization of healthcare in general, and pathology more specifically. The day may not be far away when anatomic pathologists with sub-specialty expertise here in the United States spend significant portions of every working day diagnosing cases referred from overseas countries, using digital pathology arrangements to transmit whole slide images of the patient’s tissue.
—Pam Scherer McLeod