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Virco BVBA has signed (28 May) a global research and development, non-exclusive licensing agreement with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc (NY, USA). Under this agreement Siemens is providing Virco a licence to enable Virco to develop and commercialise a new hepatitis C research service testing platform.
This platform will initially be utilised by pharmaceutical companies for drug development support of the new hepatitis C virus (HCV) antivirals. The platform will have the potential to provide HCV clinical diagnostic testing services in the future.
“We are delighted to conclude this licence agreement with Siemens, as a prelude to a new chapter in Virco’s pursuit of bringing healthcare solutions to the infectious diseases market, especially for areas of significant unmet need,” said Werner Verbiest, general manager worldwide. “Virco has a considerable heritage as a leader in HIV resistance interpretation, and is well positioned via this licence agreement to apply its technologies, knowledge and expertise for the HCV market in the development of novel diagnostics.”
Virco recently presented a poster describing its sequencing and genotyping platform at the International Liver Meeting at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) annual meeting in Copenhagen, 23 April 2009. This technology platform is at the core of Virco’s efforts to sequence the HCV genome on a routine basis. It will enable different viral genotype and subtypes to be identified and characterised, as well as providing detailed genetic information on specific regions of interest such as those that are targets for HCV drugs and are subject to the development of resistant mutations.
“With both this license and our technology platform, we are well placed to collaborate with other researchers involved in drug development in bringing diagnostic tools specific to addressing needs in the new era of antiviral combination therapies,” noted Dr Lieven Stuyver, senior research fellow, Virco. “There is going to be a paradigm shift in HCV therapy in a few years time, with a demand for new approaches to managing combination HCV therapy, such as applications in viral resistance, treatment prediction and biomarker research.”
Virco will be presenting additional data at upcoming meetings during the remainder of 2009 and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists working in the field of HCV diagnostics and therapeutics.