CEO Marc Grodman M.D. of Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. (BRLI) (NASDAQ – BRLI) was one of the key panelists at a November 17 bi-partisan policy forum in Washington, D.C. The panel, sponsored by media outlet The Hill and the American Clinical Laboratory Association, included Congressman Michael Burgess (R – Tex.) and Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D – Tex.) Industry participants included Mara Bloom, Executive Director of the Cancer Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Bill McGivney, CEO of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and Simon Tripp, Senior Director of the Battelle Institute. Among the topics discussed was the commercialization of a breakthrough solid tumor testing program being jointly introduced by Bio-Reference Laboratories and Massachusetts General Hospital. “This program will be a big leap forward in solid tumor diagnostics leading to dramatically improved disease management,” said Dr. Grodman. “We are fortunate to have one of the leading cancer care facilities in the world in Massachusetts General with which to partner.” The program will launch in early 2012. Among the other topics discussed was a proposed move by the FDA to regulate genetic testing. Congressman Burgess, who is a doctor, has introduced a bill to block this effort. He cited the long delays in the FDA approval process already being experienced in other industries as a prime reason for his opposition. “We need a regulatory framework that is sensitive to the fact that this is an evolving science,” Burgess said. Dr. Grodman also spoke on this topic. “Freezing technology, freezing innovation in an industry that is already regulated only has an effect to increase cost.” The tests are currently regulated under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). “Moving oversight from CMS to the FDA would make it harder to get the most out of genetic testing,” stated Dr. Grodman. “We need the ability to innovate; we need the ability to provide data, we need the ability to take better care of cancer patients.”
About Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc.BRLI is the fourth largest full service laboratory in the United States and the largest independent regional laboratory in the Northeastern market, primarily a clinical testing laboratory servicing physician offices with concentrations in the focused markets of esoteric testing, molecular diagnostics, anatomical pathology, women's health and correctional health care. BRLI operates as a national oncology laboratory as GenPath. Better science, superior technology and better service have enabled GenPath to earn a reputation as one of the premier hematopathology laboratories in the country. BRLI's innovative technology platform for sexually transmitted infections has enabled it to expand as a national laboratory in the area of Women's Health. GeneDx, a wholly owned subsidiary, is the BRLI genetics laboratory and is typically recognized as the leading laboratory for testing of rare genetic diseases; GeneDx has now become a technology leader with GenomeDx, based on a CGH array platform and its NextGen sequence offerings that are currently offered in cardiology and will be offered in the future in other disease specific areas.