BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Innogenetics NV signed a four-year marketing and distribution agreement with Third Wave Technologies Inc. that gives the Belgian company exclusive rights to market Third Wave's Invader genetic testing products throughout Europe.

Ghent-based Innogenetics will market a number of Invader clinical molecular diagnostic products for the genetic testing of risk factors in the areas of cardiovascular diseases, blood coagulation and hearing disorders. The products include Factor V (Leiden), Factor II (Prothrombin) and Connexin 26. They are all based on Third Wave's Invader technology, a chemistry-based platform the U.S. company says ensures a high degree of accuracy, flexibility and ease of use.

Innogenetics will purchase a minimum volume of products from Third Wave, of Madison, Wis., at prices that are fixed for the full four-year term of the agreement, Innogenetics' vice president, investor relations, Jean-Christophe Donck, said. He told BioWorld International that Innogenetics expected its sales of Invader products to level off at several million euros a year

Donck added that the deal had brought Innogenetics "a partner in the U.S. of a similar size to us" and that further synergies might be found in the future. The four-year period of the agreement was designed to give the two sides time to size each other up, he added.

For Third Wave, the interest of the deal is to break into the European market for the first time, as its president and CEO, John Puisis, explained: "Innogenetics has a proven track record in . . . selling innovative molecular diagnostics to European clinical laboratories. Many of these customers have been requesting our Invader products, and Innogenetics now will provide us with the avenue to this important market."