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ABBOTT LABORATORIES MEETS CHALLENGES OF LABORATORY MEDICINE WITH NEW THIRD-GENERATION INSTRUMENT

 ABBOTT PARK, Ill., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) introduced today AxSYM, the first third-generation immunoassay instrument which will offer a broad assay menu and improve the workflow of clinical laboratories.
 "These unique capabilities will better enable hospital and reference laboratories to meet one of the primary challenges of health care reform: faster turn around of accurate and reliable test results with less labor," said David A. Thompson, senior vice president, diagnostic operations.
 AxSYM will be previewed at the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Meeting in New York City.
 Immunoassay Segment Growth
 In the past decade, the most rapidly growing clinical laboratory sector has been immunology. Immunoassay tests are usually ordered for patients in response to a specific, identified medical need. Immunoassay tests are used to detect infectious diseases, such as hepatitis, AIDS, rubella and chlamydia. They also detect cancer markers, hormones and endocrine molecules. In addition, immunodiagnostic tests are used to monitor the levels of therapeutic drugs in the body and to detect the presence of illicit drugs.
 The need for immunology has increased due to the U.S. health care system's emphasis on preventive screening and on more precise diagnosis. With health care reform reinforcing these trends, many observers believe the immunoassay diagnostic testing growth rate will continue to increase. The immunology segment in the United States will reach approximately $2 billion in 1993, and is expected to grow approximately 7 percent over the next year. At the same time the immunology industry is growing, hospitals and reference laboratories are also facing significant shortages of skilled medical technologists. Enrollment in three and four year medical technology programs has consistently declined since the mid-1980s.
 Need for Automation
 The result of this growth in immunology and the shortage of qualified personnel has increased the need for automation. Manual methods of processing tests (first generation technology) has been replaced by automated batch methods with an increasingly broad menu of assays (second generation technology), which in turn will be replaced with a single instrument that provides continuous access, random access and STAT interrupt capabilities together with a broad menu of tests (third generation technology).
 "The third generation of automated immunoassay instruments in the laboratory will benefit clinical laboratorians, doctors and patients," says Ed Ogunro, Ph.D., program director for AxSYM. "In the laboratory, automation cuts down on expensive, labor-oriented procedures and allows the consolidation of different tests at one workstation, saving space, as well as equipment costs and labor. For doctors and their patients, it provides a means for a faster test result which may lead to earlier treatment of serious diseases, which lowers health care costs and saves lives."
 Abbott X-Family Offers Integrated Solutions
 AxSYM will allow medium and higher volume clinical laboratories to process a variety of immunodiagnostic tests simultaneously, as well as add tests while the instrument is running. In addition, by simply adapting assays from other instruments in Abbott's "X-Family," AxSYM's menu of assays will be broad.
 AxSYM will join Abbott's family of immunodiagnostic instruments. Other members of Abbott's "X-Family" of instruments include IMx, TDx, and ADx.
 As part of a proven family of instruments, AxSYM will provide unique benefits by responding to individual workflow needs of clinical laboratories," says Miles White, vice president of diagnostic systems and operations. "Together, the Abbott X-Family of instruments can improve lab efficiency by allowing consolidation of higher volume assays to be processed on AxSYM and lower volume assays to be processed on TDx and IMx."
 AxSYM will be available to clinical laboratories worldwide in the first quarter of 1994. AxSYM's initial menu in the U.S. will include assays for thyroid diseases, hormones, therapeutic drugs, pregnancy and metabolic disorders. Future tests will include assays for hepatitis, retroviruses, cancer, fertility, toxicology and abused drugs.
 Abbott Laboratories is a worldwide manufacturer of health care products employing 49,000 people. In 1992, company sales and net earnings were $7.9 billion and $1.2 billion respectively, with earnings per share of $1.47.
 -0- 7/12/93
 /CONTACT: Traci Lumberg of Abbott Laboratories, 708-938-3895, or Elissa Whiteman of Edelman Public Relations, 312-649-6907, for Abbot Laboratories/
 (ABT)


CO: Abbott Laboratories ST: Illinois IN: MTC SU: PDT

SH -- NY054 -- 0458 07/12/93 13:23 EDT
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Date:Jul 12, 1993
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