A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

OraSure Technologies (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), a provider of oral fluid diagnostics, reported that it has en-tered into an approximate $6 million, multi-year purchase contract with the New York City Department of Mental He-alth and Hygiene to expand the use of OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody tests in the city.

The contract begins July 1, and will extend New York's aggressive program of HIV prevention, which includes widespread access to voluntary rapid HIV testing and HIV prevention and education initiatives throughout the city. OraSure already has donated 1,000 OraQuick Advance tests to the city in honor of National HIV Testing Day, commemorated annually on June 27.

"We are pleased to expand the availability of our OraQuick Advance test in New York City, to help stop the HIV epidemic through increased testing," said Douglas Michels, president and CEO of OraSure Technologies. "Making rapid HIV testing widely available has been shown to increase the likelihood that people will get tested and promptly learn their status so that they can receive any necessary treatment and counseling as soon as possible. By ensuring that increased testing is available in New York as well as other cities, we expect to make significant strides in beating this disease."

Providing results in as little as 20 minutes, OraQuick Advance is the only rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 approved by the FDA for use on oral fluid, finger stick or venipuncture whole blood, and plasma specimens.

Healthcare Technologies (Petach Tikva, Israel), which specializes in clinical diagnostic test kits, reported that the state of Israel's Chaim Sheba Medical Center has selected PerkinElmer (Wellesley, Massachusetts) neonatal screening technology to create a comprehensive newborn screening program that is intended to cover every child born in Israel.

PerkinElmer's clinical diagnostics division is represented throughout Israel by Healthcare Technologies, via its wholly owned subsidiary, Gamidor Diagnostics (Re-hovot, Israel), together with PerkinElmer's regional distributor, HVD Vertriebs (Vienna Austria).

PerkinElmer, via Healthcare Technologies and HVD, will provide the state of Israel with instrumentation, reagents, scientific expertise and an informatics system that will enhance Israel's neonatal screening and data management capabilities. The system will allow the Sheba Medical Center to implement a comprehensive solution that will electronically track laboratory workflow from sample receipt and preparation, through the analytical steps, to quality control review, reporting and follow-up.

The contract will fulfill a recent mandate by the Medical Research Infrastructure Development and Health Services Fund to substantially expand its newborn screening program to cover Israel's entire population and increase the number of tests that will be screened for indications of disease.

Arbor Vita (Sunnyvale, California), a company focused on the development of drugs and diagnostics addressing disease through PDZ proteins, and PATH (Seattle), an international, nonprofit organization focused on improving global health, reported receiving a $600,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, Maryland).

The two-year grant will fund collaborative research between Arbor Vita and PATH to develop a lateral flow test – similar to a simple pregnancy test – with enhanced sensitivity to detect pre-cancerous cervical lesions using E6, a protein marker associated with cervical cancer.

"The unique properties of our technology provide the basis for the detection of proteins which are overexpressed in certain diseases, such as the E6 protein in cervical cancer," said Peter Lu, Arbor Vita founder, president, and CEO. "Our proprietary approach is ideal to meet the cervical cancer screening needs for areas of the world with limited resources and medical infrastructure. In addition, the platform technology has broad applications in multiple commercial markets."

The research is in conjunction with PATH's Screening Technologies to Advance Rapid Testing project, which seeks to develop low-cost, easy-to-use, culturally acceptable tests for cervical cancer screening. Following the successful completion of research and development, and validation of the lateral flow test, Arbor Vita will be responsible for obtaining necessary regulatory approvals as well as manufacturing and selling the test in India, China and other developing countries.

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