Quidel Corp. announced Thursday that it has received a noticeof allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on animmunoassay test system composed of enzyme and color-enhancing solutions.

The patent covers the use of alkaline phosphatase derived fromE. coli (ECAP), which is more heat stable than the most widelyused alkaline phosphatase, which is derived from calf intestine(CIAP).

Previously, ECAP was not sensitive enough for rapid diagnostictest kits. The San Diego company (NASDAQ:QDEL) determinedthat ECAP's performance characteristics could match those ofCIAP, however, when in the presence of certain salts andsolutions. Moreover, unlike CIAP, ECAP is stable at roomtemperature. Thus, Quidel can now offer rapid diagnostic testswith the required level of sensitivity and room temperaturestability. "The chemistry was originally developed for use inour birth control diagnostic product currently in consumertrials and we anticipate expanding the use of this technique,"said Scott Glenn, Quidel's chief executive officer.

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