QIAGEN and British Veterinary Laboratories Agency Expand Partnership in Veterinary Testing
New agreement covers widespread bacterial infections in horses
Venlo, Netherlands - November 5th, 2009 - QIAGEN (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA) today announced an expansion of its strategic partnership with the United Kingdom's Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), one of the world's leading research institutions in veterinary science. Under the terms of the agreement, QIAGEN has received the exclusive rights to commercialize three new PCR-based tests for the detection of widespread bacterial diseases in horses. Financial details have not been disclosed.
The new tests developed with and validated by the VLA target three different common bacterial infections: Streptococcus equi, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The first target Streptococcus equi is the primary cause of strangles, a respiratory based infection leading to weight loss, swellings, and abscesses, with mortality rates of up to 10 percent. It is one of the most widespread diseases in horses and can persist for several months, thereby leading to severe negative economic impacts incurring from treatment costs and limited activity levels. Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa cause Equine metritis (EM), an infection of the genital tract of mares usually passed on through sexual contact. The disease is highly contagious and is detrimental to fertility. This poses a major problem for thoroughbred breeders who are required to have their mares bred by live cover.
Reliable and fast screening of horses for EM agents before breeding, and rapid diagnosis of both Strangles and EM are imperative to prevent transmission, contain outbreaks and enable early antibiotic treatments. "Molecular technologies are already the first choice in veterinary testing for many costly viral diseases such as bovine viral diarrhea or bluetongue. We now also are experiencing a growing demand for modern molecular technologies enabling the fast and reliable detection of bacterial infections", said Simone Gauch, QIAGEN's Senior Global Marketing Director Applied Testing. "Our extended agreement with the VLA will help to further strengthen our offering in this segment and enable us to provide those advanced technologies to our customers worldwide."
The new assays will complement QIAGEN's existing cador product line of molecular tests for animal diseases, which are more sensitive than traditional testing methods such as bacterial cultures or immunodiagnostics. QIAGEN's existing portfolio outside the US already includes a PCR-based test for Taylorella equigenitalis which is the cause of Contagious equine metritis. Under the new agreement, QIAGEN plans to adapt this test to cover additional bacteria causing infertility, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This technology is compatible with QIAGEN's real-time PCR detection platform Rotor-Gene Q and can potentially replace bacteriological cultures currently needed for unequivocal diagnosis of Equine metritis.
"QIAGEN has proven to be a reliable and valuable partner with strong sales channels and a global marketing reach", said Andrew Soldan, Commercial Programme Manager at the VLA. "We're looking forward to expanding our collaboration in order to help provide international veterinary testing laboratories access to these advanced technologies and therewith effectively fight some of the most dangerous and costly animal diseases."
QIAGEN and the VLA established their strategic partnership in 2006. Since then, QIAGEN has launched various PCR-based assays for infectious livestock diseases; including a test for the bovine viral diarrhea virus which played an important role in the corresponding national eradication program in Switzerland. In 2007, QIAGEN received the "Best Licensing Deal of the Year" award from the renowned Animal Pharm magazine.
QIAGEN is the global market leader in Sample and Assay Technologies for molecular veterinary testing. The global veterinary testing market is estimated to exceed US$ 1.5 billion in 2009, with molecular sample and assay technologies accounting for approximately US$ 300 million and growing at an average rate of 20%.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates the worldwide horse population to exceed 58 million in 2007.
QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue. Assay technologies are used to make such isolated biomolecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 sample and assay products as well as automated solutions for such consumables. The company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN's assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide. This panel includes the digene HPV Test, which is regarded as a "gold standard" in testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer, as well as a broad suite of solutions for infectious disease testing and companion diagnostics. QIAGEN employs more than 3,200 people in over 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at http://www.qiagen.com/.
VLA is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is a regional network of 16 laboratories. The Agency is one of the largest research and diagnostic testing facilities of its kind in the world. Its aim is to safeguard public and animal health through world class research and surveillance of farmed livestock. VLA is one of the world's most renowned reference laboratories for a wide range of diseases in farm animals. More information on VLA can be found at http://www.vla.gov.uk/.
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