As part of the proposed agreement, which is expected to be finalised this quarter, Tandem Labs will be taken under the wing of Laboratory Corp's Esoterix clinical trials group, but will continue to operate under its existing name, with its current employee and management structure also remaining intact. Tandem is a contract research organisation (CRO) with locations in the US states of Utah, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The company specialises in conducting advanced mass spectrometry (MS), immunoanalytical support, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics analyses on behalf of biopharma firms who are developing new drugs. LabCorp, meanwhile, is one of the world's largest clinical laboratories, generating annual revenues of $3.6bn in 2006. Headquartered in Burlington, North Carolina, the firm has 25,000 employees and offers a broad range of laboratory tests from routine and specialised diagnostic to genomic analyses. At present most of its business is generated from hospitals, clinics and government agencies so Tandem's analytical laboratory testing enterprise, which spans the preclinical and clinical phases of drug discovery, will therefore allow it to grow its business further in this direction. LabCorp president and CEO David King said the acquisition would "enhance" its position in the laboratory and drug development industries, and also "solidify" its position in "the emerging field of companion diagnostics". It is anticipated that over the next few years, companion diagnostics will be of increasing importance in healthcare by enabling therapy decisions to be linked with information and guidance provided by specific, personalised diagnostic test results. Companion diagnostic assays may have a variety of clinical uses, including the assessment of the potential efficacy or toxicity of a drug. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also been gently encouraging the biopharmaceutical industry to develop companion diagnostics in parallel with some of the more targeted therapies that are now being developed, so as to better select patients and treatment protocols that are most suited for the clinical trials of these selective therapies, and thus minimise the number of unnecessary adverse drug events and more successfully reach the trial end point.