LipoScience announces agreement with California health system

LipoScience announced Monday that it has reached an agreement to make its diagnostic tool to measure heart disease risk available to Scripps Health customers in California.

It’s the first such deal that LipoScience has signed in California. Raleigh-based LipoScience’s Vantera Clinical Analyzer will be placed in Scripps facilities, a nonprofit health system based in San Diego that has four hospitals on five campuses, 13,000 employees and is affiliated with more than 2,600 physicians.

LipoScience’s tool measures the risk of heart disease by measuring lipoprotein particles in the bloodstream, as opposed to taking cholesterol readings. Lipoproteins cause plaque buildup in arteries.

LipoScience is seeking to expand the number of insurers that pay for its diagnostic tool. Insurers that pay for the test are limited to Medicare, Tricare, WellPoint, United Healthcare and several Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, including North Carolina’s.

LipoScience has struggled since becoming a publicly traded company in January. The company has downgraded its revenue projections amid disappointing sales. Its stock peaked at $11.33 a share in February and closed Monday at $3.76, down 14 cents.

In August, CEO Richard Brajer left after 10 years leading the company. He was replaced by interim CEO Robert Greczyn, a LipoScience board member and the former CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurance company.

LipoScience also informed the Securities and Exchange Commission in late August that it had, for the second time, withdrawn an application with the Food and Drug Administration for a new heart disease test and “cannot provide a timeline for resubmission but intends to do so after further discussions with the FDA.”