Please post here any news about layoffs and leave the political scene on the other thread.
DPC is long gone. No need to keep going on and on about its accomplishments. Anyone who was there knows the story. What took over 35years to create was wiped out in less than 3 by Siemens. Go figure.
Ironically, I had heard Siemens doesn't like it's employee's in LA to even mention DPC since they are now Siemens and they should only talk Siemens. Again, go figure.
With the RIA Division shutting next year I don't understand why Siemens is keeping a footprint in LA anyway considering the cost of a huge facility, less than 150 employee's and, as I've read here many times, lack of sufficient work. But then again when has Siemens done anything which makes sense.
I've been at Roche for two years now and the amount of old-time DPC employee's who bailed from Siemens keeps rising. The stories they tell of the past six years is truly amazing and humorous.
Lets see how long Siemens holds on to LA and how long Immulite is still on the market.
Your Subaru-Toyota analogy is interesting. And I believe that in the 80s and well into the 90s it was a good comparison. In those days the market was more test performance driven. However, the market has changed and become much more cost driven as automation has taken over in immunoassay. Companies like Bayer, Dade, Beckman (now Danaher), Abbott, and Roche were able to bundle immunoassay and clinical chemistry and, in most cases, hematology as well. 'How good is your test' turned into 'What is the cost per test'. And as the market changed, it took away one of DPC's competitive advantages. This also coincided with SZ's passing. Could he and MZ dealt with the market changes? One can only speculate, but with the changing market and the end of the original Z's it sounds like DPC's best days were behind it. Sooner or later it was bound to go the way of many other small, innovative companies in diagnostics. Unfortunately, that is what usually happens as markets mature.
"Their issue is more about 'what tests can this instrument do for me' than 'how good is each one of the tests'. So I would argue that, for most tests, the costs of developing one's own extra special antibody is simply not justified anymore since 'good enough' antibodies are available for most tests "
Well, how about that, I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. The more automated things become, the more generalized results will be.
The thing is, DPC did the esoteric thing because they were very cognizant that they would eventually not be able to compete w/ the big boys. Now many will interpret this as a failing of their business model, but as you may guess, I disagree. It is much like Porsche or even Subaru not competing directly w/ Toyota, because they would surely lose. Having specialized sports cars w/ high performance or SUV's & crossover vehicles that have 4 wheel drives will always secure your place in the market.
So to compare DPC w/ other large diagnostics firms and how much more efficient their business model is, misses the point entirely. DPC did what they did, the way they did it, because they knew it was the best way for the company to survive. If Subaru tried to rely on a two wheel drive econobox to beat Toyota's Corolla, we can all agree they would soon go bankrupt.
I really think Dr. Z's passing changed everything, because the vision was no longer clear. I'm not sure if he lived till today that DPC would have continued to be so successful, but the path the company would have continued on would surely have been different than what eventually happened.
All things change, and the diagnostics business environment is very different today and will surely change again soon. With costs to be pared down to the bone (Obamacare and all) I think the acceptance of poorer quality testing that is automated, faster and cheaper will be all the rage.
Lets hope we all stay healthy!
My question about changing assay conditions was much more applicable to small molecules than proteins. Just for clarification, the way I use the words is that sensitivity is either the minimum detectable concentration (with reasonable precision) or the amount of signal (light or absorbance, for instance) per unit of measurement. I use the term specificity to describe or quantitate the degree to which the test measures things other than the intended analyte. Cross-reactivity is one such measure of specificity. There are other uses of the terms that deal with false positive or false negative rates so unfortunately the terms themselves can lack specificity. In terms of both antibody development and selection as well as assay conditions on or the other can be important in developing an acceptable test. In some cases neither minimum detectable concentration or cross-reactivity are important. That's what makes method research and development such fun. Each analyte seems to have it's own special challenges.
Many years ago, the antibody used in a particular test was of critical importance to commercial success. That was especially true when most assays were carried out manually or in semi-automated fashion, in test tubes. In those days, a lab could get some tests from vendor A and some from vendors B, C, and D, etc. Technical differences mattered to the customer. However, once automation took hold, customers had to commit to an entire system and look at things like the average performance of each test and just making sure it was good enough, plus things like instrument reliability, user friendliness, overall 'contract' cost per test, etc. And while automation drove costs down since they required far less labor, they also caused many customers to care a lot less about the differences in performance among various vendors' tests for each analyte. The big issue would be if any major test did not meet some minimum level of performance (which means that the results they got kept the doctors happy and crass as that might sound). And as this trend developed, it took away some of the competitive advantages that DPC had in the good old days. The customer is far more likely to just look over the system menu than to look at specific performance characteristics. Their issue is more about 'what tests can this instrument do for me' than 'how good is each one of the tests'. So I would argue that, for most tests, the costs of developing one's own extra special antibody is simply not justified anymore since 'good enough' antibodies are available for most tests and, even as new tests come along, the antibody companies come up with decent antibodies fairly quickly (usually much quicker than it takes many marketing departments to ask R&D to develop a new test). Just something else to ponder when trying to understand what happened to DPC between 1990 and today.
"Antibody specificity" and "assay sensitivity" are totally different things. A whole lot more goes into an assay to achieve clinical sensitivity than an antibody specificity. Siemens could have gotten a 3rd generation sensitivity TSH assay by increasing the turn around time to longer than 18 mins with the same antibody. They wanted to make it shorter from a marketing need, not a user need, they failed.
Thanks for clarifying your question and am sorry to judge, my bad. An antibody is specific to a particular antigen due to the amino sequence matching the antigen binding region. But it only works if the the right environment, i.e. salt, pH, pI, ect.. is favorable. We determine all that by doing a DOE, changing all those conditions from high to low and measuring the binding affinities. Yes, you can make that medium not favorable by chosing different conditions. To change it enough to be more specific to a cross reactant instead would be possible but really unlikely, they wouldn't be cross-reactant if they were not very similar with just few amino-acids difference. To answer your question, yes you can alter an antibody specificity during screening, but you have to be really inexperience to achieve that.
Thank you. I agree that conjugates (immunogens) are the key to raising good antibodies. When you find a good antibody that meets all of your criteria except cross reactivity, you can sometimes alter relative binding to the antibody by adjusting pH (if he analyte and cross-reactant have different pKa's). Antibodies, in particular monoclonals often bind far better to one ionic form of a molecule than another. And, in general, you described some of the same factors that most other companies use to develop good antigens. And, in some ways, in the long run, what is really required is the willingness to go through all of the grunt work of testing all of the candidates. It isn't just knowing how to make good immunogens, but it involves a lot of testing. That is one reason that many companies make the make vs. buy decision in favor of outside vendors who have already characterized their products. The good vendors have data on many of the assay-specific critical characteristics, be it affinity, cross-reactivity, etc.
DPC made a business decision to develop their own and did quite well at it. Some companies had a combination of making their own and buying from vendors and some went almost exclusively with vendors. For the most part, the characteristics of the antibody is not a factor in the quality of the assay from the point of view of the average lab. Most of the immunoassay analytes, in particular the higher volume ones, are pretty much standardized and free of major controversy. Companies that could not get the super good antibodies for a few tests where such antibodies really did add practical value, managed to get by with somewhat less in the antibody department and didn't really suffer too much. It is really hard to think of a significant volume analyte wherein one particular company's product is so superior that it makes a huge difference when it comes to the sale to the customer.
Anyway, it was nice to hear the DPC used pretty much the standard techniques to develop antibodies and I fully acknowledge their determination to produce superior antibodies and that they succeeded in a number of a cases. It is clear that the strength of SZ's determination paid off with a lot of hard work.
Of course conjugates are referring to the haptein ag's while for proteins, polypeptides, etc. (the big stuff), the purity of the antigen is what is paramount as they are not conjugated.
"Or, is cross-reactivity an inherent property that cannot be altered?"
Just to be clear my last post was on 10/23/2013.
Yes you can "change" apparent cross reactivity to a point w/ pH and buffer changes along with adding blocking agents carefully gauged to antibody titers, but this is always a last ditch desperate measure. If the ab in question has already been dropped out and even perhaps purified by staph protein A/ strep protein G affinity columns, then you have pretty much done all you can. Highly purified antigen coated columns can further select out the specific IgG fraction that is best but you are chasing ghosts at this point. What I mean is that the conjugate injected was either not the best format for specificity or was not purified enough to illicit a monospecific response. It is always best to secure the best possible native ab specificity before proceeding. This was the tact followed at DPC and not a lot of "chasing" was done to massage an antibody with substandard specificity or affinity to get it to work well enough for the assay quality desired. It saved a lot of effort in the long run.
By the way I used the vit-D example because we are all chasing the market leading vit-D kits, but I have no knowledge of Siemens's recent vit-D kit or how it was developed. This was way past my time there. But I was there when the testo antibodies were getting their start, and I knew how difficult it was to get a great testo antibody. Same for the n-th generation TSH ab's, a huge effort was always underway to get the greatest specificity and also sensitivity. Very tough antibodies if you wanted the very best performing stuff.
This is a long winded way of saying effort is best spent on the conjugate "before" injecting rather than trying to get great antibodies when the best possible conjugate had not been figured out completely. Of course, this is where all the hocus pocus gets involved, if you believe in such things.
So I'm not a scientist, eh? You jump to conclusions very quickly without sufficient data. Let me try again. Can the conditions of an assay be adjusted to changed the specificity of an antibody.
You are screening antibodies, and, in particular for cross-reactivity. Can the assay conditions be changed in such a way that cross-reactivity is altered for a given batch of antibody (let's say an IgG cut of a monoclonal)? Or, is cross-reactivity an inherent property that cannot be altered? It's a pretty simple technical question. I will just assume that I didn't ask it clearly enough before. It's not a trick question. It's a question I might even ask if I were interviewing for a senior scientist position.
Your question tells me you are not a scientist. Now that we got that out of the way, did you intent to ask can the specificity change with time? or you really meant can be changed? Yeah you can change a specificity if you want to. Just like you can alter a key so it doesn't fit in a lock. Or Do you mean can the specificity change with time so the antibody is no longer specific to that antigen, yeah, it will take hundreds if not thousands of years, or you can speed it up by genetically engineering the specific site.
"Remember DPC had hundreds of products in their line up, even way back then, many of which were unavailable from anyone else."
No one has every denied that DPC was the king of the esoteric and low volume assays. That was their niche. That was the Z's strategy. It filled a need that was not ever going to be met by the larger manufacturers who demanded an ROI on every new test to be developed. The bottom line here is that virtually no one else (other than some tiny companies) chose to compete with DPC in the esoteric market, or at least not until an esoteric analyte's testing volume grew to an acceptable level. This is neither a positive or negative statement about DPC; it is just a fact. It was not so much a matter of difficulty in developing these assays as it was an economic decision by competitors.
There is certainly good reason to be proud of being part of DPC and their wide range of assays running from very high volume tests to onesy-twosy tests. However, despite the internal DPC propaganda, this was more the result of the will to create the low volume assays than the ability to do so.
In some ways, this applies to the DPC vitamin D assay. DPC consciously chose to have an assay that measured equimolar concentrations of D2 and D3 whereas competitors said 'why bother'. From what I see of the vitamin D market today, there does not appear to be a big rush to only use the equimolar assay and, in fact, the recommendations for even testing vitamin D levels is decreasing, rather than increasing. I am also not aware of major competitors wanting a license to use the equimolar 'cocktail' as was the case with smaller companies like Centocor that developed a number of tumor marker tests, or others who developed tests for higher volume analytes such as HIV and hepatitis testing. When you have something of real value, your competitors will pay you good money to license it. This isn't me speaking now, but the market speaking and that should carry a lot more weight than the opinion of any one individual.
So be happy with what you accomplished and be proud of the many esoteric assays you developed. Just don't get so arrogant about it.
Please don't get the impression that DPC employees were brainwashed. From what I've seen here, a light rinse would have been sufficient. (Extra credit for anyone who knows the original source of the 'light rinse' comment).
Telling employees that they are excellent or walk on water is a common management technique. Technicon used it during the SMA and SMAC era when Technicon controlled 70 % of the clinical chemistry market. This praise and attitude created an arrogance that eventually led to Chem 1 which was the beginning of the end for Technicon as a force in clinical chemistry. The arrogance eventually got so great that they followed up Chem 1 with a revised system called Advia IMS which was an even bigger failure and cost Bayer close to a billion dollars. It was used again in Tarrytown by Bayer when they claimed (internally) that Immuno 1 was, by far, the best system on the market due to its exquisite precision (a good example of better being the enemy of good enough). The system never sold in a big way, primarily due to its much higher cost when compared to a system like the original Corning (Chiron) ACS180 and then Centaur). That is why Bayer ultimately gave up on Immuno 1 and focused on Centaur. The praise technique was evident at smaller companies like the now defunct Clinical Assays for their simple to use coated tube assays. (Note that DPC eventually copied the Clinical Assays methodology with their Coat-A-Count product line). Abbott is the best example of internal 'we are the best' culture.
Why would management feel a need to propagandize like that? Very simple. It is great for morale and is also used as a technique to keep wages and benefits down. (Who needs to pay you when we give you all this wonderful praise). And, as Josef Stalin said, a lie told often enough becomes the truth. The believers become victims of their own propaganda.
Would any former DPC employee like to admit that there is a possibility that the internal hype might have exceeded reality? (The key word here is possibility.)
Beating the antibody specialists at their own game is an exercise in ego and most likely a good example of better being the enemy of good enough. The only reason for doing so is to gain a competitive advantage. Since you keep crowing about your vitamin D assay, I wonder what your market share is or how many competitors have sought a license from DPC/Siemens for the rights to your 'cocktail'. That's the bottom line; not the elegance of the research. In a business, no one cares how fancy you are; they just care how much money you make for the company.
The question was NOT a trick question. It was a question to see how knowledgeable or creative you or your colleagues are. The answer to the question is that it is possible to change apparent cross-reactivity of an antibody (mono- or polyclonal) by adjusting some of the conditions of the assay itself. This doesn't work in every case. but for certain analytes and their likely cross-reacts, specificity can be improved by adjusting assay conditions based on knowledge of the chemistry of the analyte and cross-reactants. That's a hint. Now go ask your colleagues or yourself how to do it.
Your point about mutation and changes in a monoclonal is true of both a company like DPC or a company dedicated to antibody development and production. The difference is that one company has a full time staff devoted to antibodies that is active all the time. At a place like DPC, antibody development and production is a side activity that may or may not have a full time staff depending on the needs of the times. What do you do with that group when no new tests are being developed or production is proceeding routinely? Every company has to deal with make vs. buy decisions all of the time. I see virtually no advantage to having one's own antibody facility when one can just as easily imagine a group creating new immunogens that they send to the 'antibody experts' to use in sheep, goats, mice, or whatever. Why pay someone else to do that 'routine' work of injecting and collecting? It's called economy of scale and having a full time skilled staff to address your needs. Based on your logic, DPC should have been making its own enzymes and its own solid phase beads as well as every part used in the Immulite. I suspect that the parochial environment created by the Z's is one reason that DPC people think they walked on water and why they can't see that other companies are equally, if not more, successful by outsourcing. You only know one way to do things and, as we all know, there are many ways to skin a cat. And it doesn't matter much to the cat since the cat is already dead.
By the way, I am still waiting for the name of any other independent diagnostics firm that produced hundreds of in-house mono/ poly ab lines that generally beat or equaled the best performing industry standards, and whom also developed and produced the in-house tests that eventually got to the production stage.
Remember DPC had hundreds of products in their line up, even way back then, many of which were unavailable from anyone else.
Oh boy, the pot calling the kettle black?
Obviously, monoclonals whose cell lines are purchased can be handled so that antibody (mono's) can be made "indefinitely". And obviously, doing this is simple routine lab work. But purchasing the cell lines and the rights to produce from them is very expensive and still leaves room for worry. I'm sure you understand the declining quality of performance that can occur from cell line mutation far down the road. Regardless, it is the ability to BEAT the antibody specialists at their own game for the best stuff that is impressive. Or do you not find this admirable?
And your "trick" question about changing an antibodies specificity will only confuse a common lab grunt. The old dogs at DPC were extremely well versed on preparing specific antibody coated gel beads to purify poly's or mono's for greater specificity or greater affinity. And yes, mono's seemingly by definition should not have affinity to more than a single antigen, but we all know how untrue this is in practice.
And once again, we are talking about the company and it's employees many years ago, not the current left over skeleton crew. I have no understanding or knowledge of the current LA site, other than what everyone is saying about how little is actually left. Everyone of the people I worked with are far gone, so I have no dog in that fight. I simple post here to defend the reputation of the original company, because they can't or do not care to defend it.
Here's a good question for the expert scientists at DPC. Once an antibody is being routinely produced (either poly- or monoclonal), can the specificity of the antibody be changed? If so, how? If not, why not?
Credit for this test will only be given to those who have a robust scientific answer and can explain how one could change specificity (e.g., cross-reactivity). Credit will also be given for honesty to those who say that specificity cannot be changed.
This is a serious challenge and not just a joke.
It is clear to me that you have no concept of strategic thinking and why a company would outsource an antibody supply. In particular, for monoclonals, the 'deal' includes rights to the cell line, a supply of cells to be stored at several locations for protection, and the ability to grow the cells at multiple vendors. It also seems that some, if not most, of the ex-DPC posters here do not know the differences among research, development, process development, quality control development, technology transfer, and routine production. These are all very different activities that require different types of expertise and mentality. Developing the immunogens is a research activity and, as you stated, this is the key to winding up with 'good' antibodies. Injecting immunogens, collecting serum or ascites fluid is a routine production activity that does not require any special Ph.D. level knowledge or talent. The idea of paying high priced Ph.D. scientists to perform routine activities such as antibody production (after immunogens have been developed) or producing routine production reagents is financially absurd. Expert scientists are being paid to invent, not to carry out what are essentially rote activities (I'm sure that word will annoy he heck out of you). If I used your argument, then those companies involved in clinical chemistry would not allow themselves to be held hostage to key reagent suppliers for things like enzymes, but would set up their own facilities for purifying enzymes used in their products. As is the case with antibodies, production is left to other companies who's core business is making enzymes.
It appears to me that many of the DPC people worked in a very parochial environment. You folks would have been a lot better off had you gotten out once in a while and met people from other companies, attended scientific meetings with competitors, etc. Your little world of Camelot or Xanadu is one way to be successful, but not the only way. DPC went as far as it could as a small to medium sized company, but ultimately did not have the muscle to compete with the big boys. MZ knew this and that was probably the major reason he sold out. Designing new instruments was still possible, but the cost of re-developing the solid phase was not in the cards since it was too expensive for only a minimal gain. Also, the fact that most competitors could offer a bundle of products including clinical chemistry and, often, hematology, put DPC at a big disadvantage.
Once again, and hopefully for the last time, DPC deserves credit for their research activities and their development of excellent antibodies, conjugates and reagents. Why you cannot accept this praise is beyond me. Continuing to insist that only high priced scientists are required to manufacture the products is just pure nonsense and is inconsistent with the experience of most of your competitors who are still around today, unlike DPC which, following a gloried history, is now heading for oblivion. And whether you like it or not, one reason for the end of DPC is their inability or lack of desire to transfer routine manufacture to manufacturing people, thus freeing scientists to do that which they do best: inventing new things.
One last thought about the 'excellence' of your antibodies and conjugates. There are two ways to assess their value: one is based on pure science and what is best and the other is based on the judgment of customers (e.g., market share). DPC was very effective in developing markets, but was never a big competitor in developed countries for the most part. Perhaps we have an example of 'better is the enemy of good enough' here.
As you can probably guess, I know my way around a lab. However, I also know my way around the business end of things including long and short term strategic thinking and development, as well as understanding some of the requirements for effective product manufacturing and quality control. It would be nice to hear from some of the manufacturing people from DPC and not just the ivory tower scientist crowd.
"Most diagnostics farm out their antibody needs because they choose not to operate an animal facility (a farm or a room full of smelly mice)"
This must have been a joke correct? If not, then do you really believe a diagnostic company would prefer to outsource a key reagent like the primary antibody, to a vendor who then essentially can hold them hostage for an extremely difficult to replace reagent? Never mind long term deals, they still would not have ultimate control of the supply chain. And for what reason? Because animals are smelly? This just sounds like you picked up the reasoning for your position out of conjecture, and not carefully vetted market data. The real reason they outsource is that it is extremely difficult to do this for dozens of tough assays for the long haul. That is why DPC was special, because no one else did it quite so effectively. If you disagree then start naming diagnostics firms who did this while not having a large multi-national to back them up w/ deep pockets. I'll bet that you cannot name a single one.
"But that said, when it comes to LA that is, all those people are long long gone"
That's why he posted "old DPC dogs". Yes I am here and there is no talent left in this wasteland, just grunts collecting paychecks.
Siemens realized LA was special and holds on, but alas, the horse left the barn years ago. The stink from their horse pies, is even gone now.
I enjoyed your response to the original poster.
But that said, when it comes to LA that is, all those people are long long gone. When I left almost four years ago most of them were already gone from Siemens. What's left their now is nothing but a mere shadow and virtually no talent from those past accomplishments.
So, yes, I agree with what you say and how "lightening in a bottle" those people were. I'm proud to have known most of them and what they taught me. It has served me well at my current job and how far in management I've gone in just a few years.
But LA today has nothing to do with any of that. No assay development is done there and, it's my understanding, the remaining are just waiting for the place to shutdown.
The loss would be minimal but the cost of keeping and maintaining that huge facility for less than 200 people is just plain crazy.
You really need to learn how to read and understand. How many times do you need to be praised for developing initial conjugates and immunogens? What I said is that you basically failed as teachers to transfer your knowledge to others and that is something all successful companies do. Even the antibody companies transfer the routine production of antibodies to lower level chemists and leave the fancy development to others. Most diagnostics farm out their antibody needs because they choose not to operate an animal facility (a farm or a room full of smelly mice). Most companies don't want to have to use their valuable high paid scientists for routine production and they don't. No one here has ever challenged DPC's scientific achievements. READ MY LIPS: I said you never transferred it to routine production and that was a poor business decision, but one consistent with SZ's mentality. And the fact that the processes were never transferred is a big red flag that suggests that the processes were never properly controlled or optimized and that production of critical components is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants operation that can only be carried out by scientists who can play around with the reagents to make them match up into a kit.
If you cannot distinguish between praise for scientific achievement and a failing grade for knowledge transfer, I give up. You are just not intelligent enough to keep up with this discussion.
"I challenge the DPC-we-walk-0n-water crowd to explain what is so special about the actual chemistry syntheses that make them impossible to commit to paper in a way that allows for a manufacturing facility and not just expert researchers to produce"
This guy is the kind of apparently well educated scientist types, whose PhD degree allows him (in his own mind) to equate all PhD's and researchers as if they are as interchangeable as pawns on a chess board. This total lack of connectivity is precisely the reason Siemens failed at DX in the grand scheme of things.
So you challemge the notion that immunogen conjugates are well known and that any good scientist can take the batch record, inject for polyclonals, or prepare hybridoma cell lines for mono's and whaaaala, have the equivalent of the antibodies that the best diagnostics companies use in the manufacture of their products?!
Just what rock or planet did you just arrive from?
Lets see now, if you are indeed correct, I can go to Scantibodies and purchase the equivalent of Diasorin's Vit-D assay antibody because after all, the production of a good Vit-D2/D3 equal molar antibody should be readily available correct? After all we just have to follow the recipe if we are Scantibodies, to make such an antibody correct? Well Mr. know it all, call around to ANY ANTIBODY SUPPLIER for your Vit-D antibody and tell me how soon you can get it shipped.
My guess is that you will have quite a wait.
To use cortisol as an example of how easy it is to make a good antibody, is akin to my saying I am a great hitter and could replace any Dodger in the line up, because I can hit any pitch my 12 year old daughter can throw at me!!!! You are truly clueless.
Why do you think the majority of Diagnostic firms, outsource their antibody needs? Because it takes a lot of very talented effort to produce market leading antidodies for difficult assays, and they find it impossible to be effective producing them in-house! But I will bet you $1,000 that many can and do produce their cortisol antibodies in-house.
What about a direct testosterone antibody sensitive enough to require just a few ul's of serum sample for testing? Care to bet how long it will take you, Mr. "I can make cortisol ab's", to deliver to market or production? I'll bet you a wager of $1,000,000 that you will fail to do so within 5 years even if given a multi-million budget and all the resources you think you will need. Why am I so confident? Only a very, very select few have ever been able to produce a direct testo antidody in the past 30 years or so, and it is still very costly to purchase testo antibodies. I, unlike you, realize how difficult some of these things are to produce, and I also witnessed how capable those old DPC dogs were at being successful with many of the most difficult assays. All while developing and producing everything in house; researched, developed, and delivered, in very short time frames for an extremely robust schedule of assays.
Quite "magical" is how I might describe it.
Siemens has not figured out how to manage the technology transfer to Llanberis. They have missed on two fronts. They did not implement a proper plan for the transfer and might have been a lot better off moving to Walpole and, secondly, they provided no clear motivation for the LA people to cooperate in the transfer. Those are the two basic reasons that any part of LA still exists at all. The inability to unload RIA and deciding to maintain it until now is another reason. LA is open because Siemens doesn't know what it's doing and not because of anything special about LA itself.
you definitely asked the right question but to the wrong people. the only one can give you an answer are not in LA but in Siemens.
WE, especially those got laid off before LA, should ask Siemens management: what is it so special about LA that you can't just shut it down?
The discussion of the 'greatness' of LA has gone on too long. I would suggest that those who think that the DPC people walked on water explain that with some facts. The basic chemistry involved in making conjugates and immunogens is pretty well known. The general variables tend to involve the attachment site of the ligand, the spacer(s) used between the ligand and macromolecular support or enzyme, and the actual chemistry to perform the various syntheses is fairly standardized and well known to those skilled in the art. For example, the location of attachment of cortisol is extremely important if good specificity is to be achieved (e.g., lack of cross reactivity with other steroids). However, this knowledge was available to all in the 1980s. Certainly the actual experimentation to optimize attachment sites, spacers, and reaction conditions can be a commendable scientific achievement, however, the conversion of a research technique to a manufacturing process is NOT a great achievement; it simply requires the will to do so and to determine the factors and tolerances involved in optimizing a reproducible process for a manufacturing facility. Virtually ALL diagnostics manufacturers have managed to move these processes from a research environment to manufacturing. DPC apparently did not do this successfully, most likely because SZ and his mentality did not see the value in doing so.
Thus, a lot of credit must be given to the DPC scientists who developed the various specialty chemicals used in their assays, but it is still fair to criticize the organization (not the scientists) for not converting the processes to routine manufacturing. Even processes that involve adjusting ratios of antibody to conjugate (e.g., a form of titration) can be put down in writing in a manner that manufacturing people can perform.
Given the above, I challenge the DPC-we-walk-0n-water crowd to explain what is so special about the actual chemistry syntheses that make them impossible to commit to paper in a way that allows for a manufacturing facility and not just expert researchers to produce. As you can see from the above, I am relatively knowledgeable this topic and would like to see a clear justification for the claim that only LA can PRODUCE (in contrast to develop) these compounds for routine product manufacture.
I give credit where it is due. I also provide equal criticism for what I see as a failure to complete the overall development job which includes transfer of the entire product to manufacturing. As an example, Bayer transferred many complex synthetic processes to their manufacturing site in Virginia which was hardly staffed with expert, Ph.D. scientists. This includes not only conjugates, but things like the magnetic particles used on Immuno 1 and the synthesis of their own tightly controlled latex particles used in agglutination tests.
So please, please, please put an end to this discussion by showing us all why only LA can produce the specialty chemicals and why the processes are so complicated that they cannot be reduced to a set of step by step instructions. I accept the talent it took to create the chemicals, but reject the notion that only LA can make them. So, just pretend that I am from Missouri and show me!!
LA may be a loss to Siemens. But the fact that it takes Siemens six seven years and counting to try to shut it down tells you LA's loss is "affordable" for Siemens DX.
The people who should get over it should be the ones wishing LA close the next day.
"What a LA-hater!"
Just another LA person who can't accept the fact his/her days are numbered and needs to find another job.
It has nothing to do with hating LA. It has everything to do with money lost and redundancies within DX itself.
You can always apply for a job at Tarrytown or Flanders.
But LA has long been a lost cause and financial disaster for several years now
Get over it.
One reason that the cost per test is so high is the low volume. And one could argue (naively or sarcastically) that when you compare 20 cents to 2 dollars you would expect the more expensive test to be 10 times better by some reasonable measure and also be used in how the patient it treated. If treatment doesn't change, it's hard to justify the added cost. It is basically a technology you own just in case a market does emerge.
Just about every enthusiast I've talked to over the past 20 years has trouble when I ask what they think the total number of tests per year would be and they either shrug their shoulders, say they don't know, or say something like: if you build it, they will come. I am still very open to anyone who can see widespread use of the technology.
More than likey they'll start shutting down LA's CrossPoint Facility the same time RIA is closing. That would be September 2014.
More than enough time to transfer out whatever they do there anyway.
As far as "they're done with layoffs in Healthcare"...don't think so. Especially in the States. DX continues to lose customers and marketshare on a quarterly basis. Even MR avoids the questions on it when he visits different sites.
Certain sites still need to be closed for redundancy sake.
Tarrytown, Flanders and Walpole can easily pickup the slack.
"...Where is the market?..."
There is also the overriding economic consideration - cost per test.
Given a choice between a "good enough" result at 20 cents, or a superb result at $2.00, 20 cents wins every time. Unless you can convince Medicare & insurance companies to pay for the higher cost test, there is no market, and there never will be.
no knowledge of moder assay techni...no knowledge of assay integ with new seq profiles proteom genom etc.
Fascinating. I've been hearing about genomic based tests, nucleic acid diagnostics, etc. for at least the past 20 years. Most diagnostics companies have had some portion of their R&D people working on the technology and many ingenious and 'cute' techniques have been developed. A few attempts have been made to automate these processes as well. But, it's been 20 years already and still very little in the way of profitable diagnostics products. The view from 10,000 feet tells me there is one major problem with this new generation of tests:
Where is the market? Which of these tests can be useful to large populations? Onesy-twosey tests won't make it and won't justify the cost of developing the technology and associated instrumentation. One day things may change, but from what I've seen, the past 20 years have been nothing more than an elegant technology in search of a practical use. Having the greatest product in the world (since sliced bread, of course) is useless without customers. It is like trying to sell zero-cholesterol, low fat, high vitamin beef to a vegan.
Mind you, that this is just one opinion which is subject to change should a viable market actually emerge.
Siemens DX comments all pointless anyway. Abbievie (Abbott) and all others are already planning the new tech to wipe out the blood gasand the immunolite market. What passes for scientific knowledge at Tarry, Wals, LA and Nor i.e is a joke. No knowledge of stability shelf... no knowledge of moder assay techni...no knowledge of assay integ with new seq profiles proteom genom etc.
LA hater? Tsk tsk. How do you know that I'm only a St. Louis Cardinal fan? But seriously, you are either a bit shell-shocked from the treatment you received from Siemens, a bit paranoid when it comes to legitimate criticism, or have a massive ego that can never be satisfied. I never criticized LA for its talent or achievement; I merely stated that the failure to document what was developed in LA has caused massive problems when it comes to transferring the process to another site. If cannot distinguish these two things then I suggest that you are the one with the problem. Let me repeat: Other diagnostics companies have been able to transfer equally complex, if not more complex, manufacturing procedures from R&D to manufacturing. The basic chemistry for preparing conjugates is the same for all diagnostics' companies and they can all be reduced to routine production if the will is there. DPC just never saw the necessity for doing this part of the job. It's as simple as that. If anything, the criticism is directed towards management who were very short-sighted in keeping the more complex syntheses with R&D.
And on behalf of Giants fans everywhere, we are happy that the Dodgers lost yesterday. Even that isn't hate for LA; it's just the way the sports business goes. Deal with it like everyone else and 'wait until next year'.
DX has all ready had its layoff's + plenty of ship jumpers, in fact we are hiring in places, trying to anyhow! as no one that knows anything about the DX business wants to work for us. Says it all eh?
The layoffs are for mainly the power sector, especially wind power which has been a disaster and now the piper has to be paid for catastrophically bad management with myopic vision, poor deals, terrible estimation of the costs, poor returns and Siemens got big into the 'Green' sector as massive global recession meant eco niceties are a luxury no one can afford to indulge in now so the market is likely to bomb.. and badly. Ultimately Peter took the sword for it but he walked away with 10's millions. Lots of grunts who had to risk death sticking stupid loss making windmills in the middle of the sea will walk away with little.
What a LA-hater!
There is nothing in LA that can't be done elsewhere. The issue is not the ability to do it; the issue is that LA never properly documented their processes and procedures. Whether DPC had been sold to Siemens or not, this was a fatal error since it allows individual employees to become indispensable which is a situation that no company should ever tolerate, let alone encourage. The policy of not forcing good documentation was one of the few big errors that the Z's made. Of course, they are no longer around LA to see the error of their ways. Siemens is stuck with it and has no clue as to how to fix it.
Does anybody know what LA does that cannot be done at Llanberis or elsewhere? This is all somewhat confusing. As far as I've been told it's just Allergens and some raw material manufacturing for Wales.
at least the people you mention actually do some real production work. i wonder what the "support" functions doing in LA? Like HR, IT, accounting, which can all be moved/centralized in one place- as near as sacramento, as far as tarrytown.
but hey it's siemens, who only interested in cost saving in millions, not thousands.
Pass it...and we can handle it.
No secret projects in LA.
Just 140 people keeping a low profile just waiting
to be packaged off like RIA group.
Still talks going on at Tarrytown regarding Allergens
production finally relocating here. It's long overdue and we
can easily handle it and the right people in place.
DX needs to consolidate down to sites which are needed
and finally cut the loss.
It would seem it finally has started. With any luck the new
CEO won't make the same mistakes Loescher did.
The comment makes perfect sense to me. If Siemens is laying off 15,000 employees, I can assume some of them will be from DX.
It's all for cost cutting anyway.
So, why in the world would a company keep open a site for such a small group of people.
I guess they have some top secret projects going on in LA we don't know about.
That's all I can come up with.
Who aren't a profeshunnal?
Is it true that using the word professional in conjunction with Siemens Diagnostics is an oxymoron?
Sound you are NOT a professional guy at all.
Does anybody know what LA does that cannot be done at Llanberis or elsewhere? This is all somewhat confusing. As far as I've been told it's just Allergens and some raw material manufacturing for Wales. I can tell you now, east coast can definitely handle all allergens.
Cost wise it also puts some heat on other site locations on both east and west coast considering what Siemens is paying keeping LA open...and for what?
I can see the need for Tarrytown, Flanders and Walpole but LA?
True we have a bunch of deadwood at Tarrytown but I think they will be cleaned out over the next year or so.
Centaur took its hits but definitely found its stride again.
So I'm reading LA is finally 1/2 closing down next year. What about CrossPoint? I hear it's like a ghost town compared to a few years ago. Doesn't that facility cost a lot to operate?
I think it's all very silly and it would seem DX is getting exactly what it deserves.
I also agree that PSA lawsuits will be coming and possibly under a Class Action Suit. Those who have had prostate biopsies should clean house with Siemens on all medical costs and suffering.
I hope it gets posted or in the news. Now that outcome will be very interesting to watch.
Perhaps. Much will depend on how quality control was performed in the labs and, in particular, what controls were used. Any lab that uses only controls from the same company that manufactures the reagents, and especially the calibrators, is asking for trouble. In order for Siemens to be fully responsible, it would mean that the recalled product worked with a variety of control products, but not patient samples. Without knowing the specifics of this case, I would still suggest that the above scenario is quite unlikely. If any labs do actually file suit, the process will become a big mess which is something that legal departments try to avoid.
Will be interesting to see what happens on this one. Keep us posted, please. I have plenty of popcorn to go along with the entertainment.
I definitely think you'll see lawsuits with this one. Hospitals are now going through "thousands" of PSA results from the now demised Immulite kit searching to see who had prostate biopsies done based on a false reading. Siemens will be liable not only for all medical costs but patient "pain and suffering".
The Hospitals won't take the hit alone.
I doubt we'll here much about it though since Siemens will settle the cases out of court. But this will cost them millions.
Don't know about other sites, but employee attitude surveys have been a joke in Tarrytown since the Bayer years. Their only benefit seems to be that they keep management on their toes by forcing them to find creative ways of spinning the poor to fair results into good news. The results force them to wake up once a year. The cup is not completely empty.
In general, how satisfied are you with your life in DX? I laughed so hard when I took the survey. But hey, it's 50 dollars credit. I can definitely make up some good answers.
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