A US diagnostics giant in the Johnson & Johnson stable is underpinning commercialisation of a revolutionary tuberculosis detector developed by Rapid Biosensor Systems in Cambridge.
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Inc has signed a strategic agreement with RBS to bring the Babraham-based innovator’s medical breathalyser device for screening active TB into production.
No financial terms are being disclosed but the deal – flagged up in a Business Weekly exclusive on September 1, 2010 – is a game-changer.
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics will have an option on worldwide exclusive rights to commercialise the TB breathalyser which can detect TB in less than five minutes from taking a cough sample.
The US partner will also collaborate with RBS to complete the device design for manufacture and will have the right to negotiate further terms in 2011/2012.
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics is a Johnson & Johnson company that makes in vitro diagnostics products. It was created following Johnson and Johnson's acquisition of Eastman Kodak's Clinical Diagnostics Division in 1994 (to form Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostics), which was then merged with Ortho Diagnostic Systems in 1997.
The corporate offices are in New Jersey and the main research facility in New York.It has been looking to expand its major spheres of operation and the TB breathalyser was seen as an ideal vehicle within this strategy.
Dennis Camilleri co-founder and CEO of Rapid Biosensor Systems, said that while the agreement with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics was exclusively for TB, the RBS platform could be adapted to other infectious diseases.
The core technology has been tested for detecting TB in India and Ethiopia with good results and in an environment where the product will be needed at the point-of-care. The platform offers a low cost, portable, integrated solution which requires little training of the user.
This whole non-invasive TB screening process is completed while the person waits for a few minutes and so if they are TB positive they can start treatment before they can spread the disease to others. Another huge benefit is that the test is not compromised by the presence of HIV.
Camilleri said: “This collaboration will accelerate our plans to finalise the development of a world class medical device for minimising the spread of a killer disease.
“The TB breathalyser that will be developed for manufacture should enable volume scale up and sales through established global channels in various clinical settings.
“This collaboration and the agreement allow us to focus on our strengths in developing medical devices and creating value by managing a strong IP portfolio.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dennis Camilleri co-founder and CEO of Rapid Biosensor Systems