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Penning a pair of diagnostic deals
LIÈGE, Belgium—Eurogentec S.A. announced this summer the finalization of two agreements with BD Diagnostics, a segment of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.), one of which is a technology transfer and license agreement covering proprietary diagnostic manufacturing technology, and the other of which is a multiyear supply agreement. Financial terms have not been disclosed for either agreement.
The technology transfer and license agreement's terms revolve around conveying diagnostic manufacturing technology to—and provide technical assistance for—BD Diagnostics, which plans to use the technology toward the production of commercial molecular diagnostic kits.
The supply agreement calls for Eurogentec will provide molecular diagnostic kit components to BD.
"BD is committed to developing assays and platforms that improve the detection and management of infectious diseases and cancer," says Philippe Jacon, president of diagnostic systems at BD Diagnostics. "Our agreements with Eurogentec reflect this commitment by seeking leading, high-quality technologies and components that help to enhance the capabilities of our products."
This follows closely on BD's mid-April announcement of the launch of its BD MAX Automated Molecular Diagnostic System and the BD MAX GBS Assay, which at the time was announced as "the first in a planned broad menu of infectious disease assays." Jacon notes this was important because the "increasing prevalence of infectious and drug-resistant organisms and their migration into healthcare facilities warrants faster, easier and more comprehensive testing with flexible workflows that accommodate each institution's unique needs."
Further illustrating BD's growing role in molecular diagnostics was the more recent news in early August when the company touted that it received "Moderate Complexity" status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), for the BD MAX GBS Assay for Group B Streptococcus. With that categorization, Jacon points out, the assay will increase access to cost-effective molecular testing for a broad range of laboratories performing GBS screening.
"A shortage of highly skilled lab workers continues to challenge laboratories striving to deliver more advanced molecular testing in a cost-effective manner," he says, adding that he wants to provide such laboratories with simplified, cost-effective molecular testing platforms.
Eurogentec CEO Jean-Pierre Delwart says he is pleased, of course, to partner with "a leading global medical technology company such as BD" and says this pair of deals is "a powerful indicator" of increasing recognition of Eurogentec's vision and technical expertise in in vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturing by companies that commercially develop in vitro diagnostic products.
"The opening of our GMP/QSR compliant clean room oligonucleotide manufacturing facilities in Europe, North America and Asia was an important strategic decision which, when coupled with our increased integration of IVD and pharma GMP manufacturing activities, has enabled us to go beyond oligo manufacturing and offer a full range of GMP-grade molecular diagnostic kit components and services," Delwart says. "This will further solidify our presence and market share in the rapidly growing North American, Asian and European molecular diagnostics markets."
Eurogentec and Japan's Kaneka join forces
LIÈGE, Belgium—In mid-June, Eurogentec S.A. announced that its majority shareholders have entered into an agreement with Osaka, Japan-based Kaneka Corp. by which the latter will acquire a majority stake in Eurogentec. The Delwart family remains on the board of directors of Eurogentec as "an important minority shareholder. "
Through this agreement, Eurogentec becomes the spearhead of Kaneka in the fields of genomics, proteomics and biologics, joining research and development forces within those fields in Japan, Belgium and the United States.
"Thanks to a strong technical and scientific expertise as well as a customer-oriented culture, Eurogentec has become a recognized leading solution provider for the life science research, the diagnostics and the biologics contract manufacturing markets," explains Jean-Pierre Delwart, CEO of Eurogentec. "It is essential that we leverage on our strengths and further reinforce our presence as a supplier of innovative products and services. Joining forces with Kaneka will enable us to accelerate our research and developments in the life science sector."
He adds that the partnership will allow Eurogentec to reinforce its production capacity in the biopharmaceuticals contract manufacturing unit as well as its capacity to develop and launch highly technical products that respond to the needs of the life science community, "including the fast growing molecular diagnostic market."
Kaneka seeks to "maintain and develop all activities of Eurogentec, and position this company as our bridgehead in the field of life sciences," says Dr. Lieven Janssens, vice president at Kaneka Pharma Europe. "Our immediate intention is to make a significant investment within Eurogentec in order to increase their capacity in biopharmaceuticals contract manufacturing unit."
Delwart will remain at Eurogentec in a leading role to help continue to grow Eurogentec's business and facilitate integration with Kaneka.
Kaneka reports that it intends to maintain and further develop the five "state-of-the-art facilities" of Eurogentec, two in LiËge, Belgium; two in California, in San Diego and Fremont; and one in Toyama, Japan, "together with their valued employees."