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Release issued 19th June 2006
Dr Frank Morich, CEO of international biopharmaceutical company Innogenetics, was in Dublin today (Wednesday 21st June 2006) to celebrate the company's successful development partnership with Enterprise Ireland and NUI Galway and to explore future interactions.
A technology, developed by researchers at NUI Galway's National Diagnostics Centre supported by Enterprise Ireland and Innogenetics, is now the basis for tests that diagnose bacterial and fungal infections in blood. The SeptiFast® test can detect the 25 most important sepsis-causing bacterial and fungal pathogens from a single blood sample. The test significantly reduces the time required to reach a diagnosis and provides accurate information to help doctors choose the right therapy.
Sepsis [blood poisoning] is a severe illness caused by overwhelming infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria and fungi. Over 18 million cases of severe sepsis occur each year. Severe sepsis accounts for up to 135,000 European and 215,000 American deaths annually. Sepsis is increasing by more than 10% per year and now constitutes one of the greatest challenges in intensive care medicine. The economic cost of sepsis is more than $17bn annually in the U.S. Early diagnosis and treatment could improve survival rates and lower costs.
The 'spacer probe' technology, developed in Galway and Ghent, on which SeptiFast® is based, was patented in 1997 and a development partnership with the €300 million Belgian-based company, Innogenetics, followed. In 2001, Innogenetics and Roche Diagnostics entered into an agreement to develop and market a new range of rapid microbiology tests with the Innogenetics/NUI Galway spacer probe technology for Roche's analytical platforms. By combining the Innogenetics/NUI Galway proprietary spacer technology and broad know-how with Roche's PCR-based analytical platforms, the SeptiFast® test provides speed, sensitivity, and specificity, permitting the identification of microorganisms within a timeframe of only a few hours.
Dr Frank Morich, CEO of Innogenetics said "By combining the skills and cutting edge technologies of our two entities we were able to contribute to a major breakthrough leading to a next generation of diagnostic test for a rapid diagnosis of sepsis. Our two organizations can be proud of this achievement. Innogenetics is very much looking forward to pursue similar opportunities."
Dr Paul Roben, Director of Enterprise Ireland's Biotechnology Commercialisation Group stated "Successes like this demonstrate the importance of Ireland's investment in quality research. Global biopharmaceutical companies, like Innogenetics, are now looking at Ireland as a source of world-class, technology. The Irish Government's recent decision to spend €3.8 billion on scientific research over the next seven years will further enhance our status as a knowledge-driven economy."
Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director Technology Transfer, NUI Galway said "We are delighted with the outcomes of the license agreement and collaborative research programme between the university and Innogenetics on the commercial development of the Spacer Probe technology originally developed by Dr Tom Barry and his research team at the National Diagnostic Centre, NUIG. This technology has a significant role to play in the development of new nucleic acid based diagnostic assays for the detection and diagnosis of micro-organisms. This has recently been demonstrated by the introduction of the SeptiFast® diagnostic test into the market place, based on Spacer Probe Technology. A number of research teams at NUIG are actively developing a range of other diagnostic technologies and we also look forward in the very near future to the commercial development and market introduction of these new technologies across different fields of applications"
The SeptiFast® test was recently launched in Europe and is expected to be launched in the USA, following FDA approval.
Contact: Dr Paul Roben, Director, Enterprise Ireland Biotechnology Commercialisation Group Tel:353 1 8370177; Email:email@example.com
Declan McGee, Communication Manager, Enterprise Ireland Biotechnology Commercialisation Group. Tel: 353 1 8082668; Email: Declan.firstname.lastname@example.org
About Enterprise Ireland's Biotechnology Commercialisation Group
Enterprise Ireland's Biotechnology Commercialisation Group (EI Bio) supports the transfer of commercially viable technology from research to marketplace. Enterprise Ireland provides support directly to researchers in third level institutes in two ways:
Funding: A series of programmes are available to researchers to facilitate the development of technologies in a commercial context. The current biotechnology investment portfolio of projects is valued at €23 million. Enterprise Ireland also supports 100% of patent costs to specified amounts and supplies advice on all aspects of the patent process.
Expertise: EI Bio specialists work through the technology transfer offices in third level institutes to provide support on all aspects of commercialisation. This support is critical to ensure the timely development of a commercial plan around a technology.
On 29th, May 2006 Enterprise Ireland announced the provision of a new €30m fund designed to build a stronger Technology Transfer function within Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. The funding will ensure better economic returns will be gained from R & D investment, through the development of better systems, procedures and expertise in Technology Transfer Offices.
Innogenetics is an international biopharmaceutical company building parallel businesses in the areas of specialty diagnostics and therapeutic vaccines. In 2005, total revenues (product sales, royalties, and license fees) reached €48.6 million, with a profitable Specialty Diagnostics Division. Its Diagnostics Division develops a large number of specialty products covering three areas: infectious diseases (hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and HIV), genetic testing (HLA tissue typing and cystic fibrosis), and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease). In its Therapeutics Division, Innogenetics focuses on the development of therapeutic vaccines to address unmet medical needs in the field of infectious diseases, with two compounds now in clinical trials (hepatitis C in phase IIb and hepatitis B in phase I). Founded in 1985, Innogenetics is listed on Euronext Brussels [Ticker: INNX]. Innogenetics' headquarters are in Ghent, Belgium, with sales subsidiaries in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and the United States. Innogenetics employs 530 people worldwide and has a market capitalization of approximately €300 million.
About NUI Galway
NUI Galway is one of Ireland's foremost centres of academic excellence. With over 15,000 students, it has a long established reputation of teaching and research
Fostering innovative research and technology transfer NUI Galway has been extremely successful in recent years in developing high-quality research initiatives and securing record levels of research funding from Enterprise Ireland, the Higher Education Authority, Science Foundation Ireland and other sources. In its research policy, the University prioritises an interdisciplinary focus on specific areas of excellence towards the development of worldclass research institutes and centres.
Now firmly established in the top tier of research-intensive universities in Europe, NUI Galway attracts internationally renowned academics, as well as researchers and students of the highest calibre, in all faculties. The University underpins its commitment to research excellence and to the essential unity of research and teaching in its Academic Plan 2003-2008. The Technology Transfer Office supports national and regional economic development by creating an environment that values intellectual property, promotes technology transfer and commercialisation activity among University researchers, and manages start-up activity.
About Roche and the Roche Diagnostics Division
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-intensive healthcare groups. Its core businesses are pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in Diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. Roche employs roughly 65,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Roche's Diagnostics Division, with a uniquely broad product portfolio, supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories world-wide. For further information, visit www.roche-diagnostics.com .
About Roche's PCR-based analytical platform - LightCycler SeptiFast® Test:
The LightCycler SeptiFast® Test can detect several pathogens simultaneously from just one blood sample. Three millilitres of whole blood are sufficient, even if the collected sample only contains minute quantities of pathogen DNA. It can even be used to identify bacteria that have already been treated with antibiotics and that therefore would not be detectable by traditional culture methods. The test operates on the basis of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This method is used to copy repeatedly specific sequences from the genetic material of the pathogen (deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA) so that even small initial quantities can be clearly identified. From the technical standpoint, the LightCycler SeptiFast® Test is implemented on the LightCycler 2.0 and is characterized by the MGRADE quality of its reagents. Practically speaking, these are free of any contamination with microbial genetic material that would compromise the reliability of the results.
If you want to find out more about the company visit Enterprise Ireland Biotechnology Commercialisation Group profile.
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