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STMicroelectronics And Veredus Laboratories Team To Diagnose Avian Flu Using Rapid-Detection Point-Of-Need Lab-On-Chip



1/18/2006 12:18:34 PM

GENEVA and SINGAPORE, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STMicroelectronics and Veredus Laboratories today announced that they are developing a fast, point-of-need diagnostic capability that will enable health practitioners to quickly detect strains of Avian Flu and other influenza viruses. The diagnostic capability, which uses reliable and inexpensive equipment, produces results within approximately one hour of testing.

Using STMicroelectronics' well-characterized In-Check (TM) platform, Veredus is developing an application to specifically identify whether a patient is infected with the Avian Flu (H5N1) or a subtype of Influenza A or B in a single test, instead of requiring many tests, as needed currently. To be available in time for the next flu season, the single-test application will be a substantial breakthrough in enabling rapid identification of the infectious agent to limit the spread of the disease and speed patients' treatment.

The diagnostic effort is being built on STMicroelectronics' In-Check platform, a complete laboratory on a chip. The platform allows users to accurately and reliably perform the complex processing and analysis of a minute sample on a single disposable chip, dramatically reducing the time and complexity of the instrumentation needed. In addition, this self-contained lab-on-chip approach reduces the risk of cross-contamination inherent in conventional analysis methods. Results are detected by a dedicated portable reader using optical signal acquisition and processed by ST's specialized bioinformatics software, which can be installed on any PC.

"The World Health Organization recently identified rapid detection as the first requirement in fighting Avian flu, and ST's leading-edge semiconductor expertise -- combined with Veredus' expertise in Avian Flu detection -- will enable new possibilities for effective timely detection and treatment so that early containment of the infection will be possible," said Anton Hofmeister, Group Vice-President and General Manager for ST's Microfluidic Division. "We are convinced that affordable, user-friendly, and portable devices like In- Check will make a critical difference in a growing number of diagnostic applications." "In light of the risk of a worldwide flu pandemic, and to limit its potential global impact, we aim to provide health-care professionals with the capability to quickly differentiate Avian Flu or severe flu strains from milder strains by their subtypes," added Dr. Rosemary Tan, CEO of Veredus. "In-Check is ideally suited to serve as a platform on which to build Veredus' unique infectious disease panels. This combination will enable rapid diagnosis and the delivery of appropriate treatments for patients in the shortest time possible. We are actively developing chips to detect Dengue, Malaria, West Nile, Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and other diseases and anticipate that our products will greatly improve treatment choices."

Based on the encouraging results seen so far and following extensive testing and validation, the Veredus application, running on ST's In-Check platform, is expected to be commercially available to health care providers in the fall of this year.

About STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2004, the Company's net revenues were $8.76 billion and net earnings were $601 million. Further information on ST can be found at http://www.st.com.

About Veredus Laboratories Pte Ltd

Founded in 2003, Veredus Laboratories Pte Ltd is a privately held, medical diagnostics company engaged in the development, commercialization and manufacture of diagnostic assays for diseases. As a successful enabler for innovative technologies, products and services, Veredus is the partner of choice for academic and increasingly industrial research in Life Sciences, Diagnostics and Pharma. For more information, please visit http://www.vereduslabs.com.

Technical Note:

All of In-Check's core biochemical functionality is enabled by, and on board, a Silicon chip which has been processed using standard silicon-chip manufacturing. As a result, the In-Check Lab-on-Chip benefits from the enormous economies of scale that have been realized by the semiconductor industry.

To facilitate handling, the In-Check lab-on-chip is a mounted on a small laboratory-slide-sized piece of plastic. This miniature lab-on-chip contains its own, on-chip PCR (polymerase chain reaction) reactor that starts with a small sample containing a few DNA strands. The PCR precisely cycles the temperature to alternately separate and replicate the few DNA strands into hundreds of thousands or millions of identical strands. This on-chip multiplication of a small sample gives In-Check substantial time and cost advantages over existing approaches, which often need to start with a much larger sample that can be more expensive to acquire and extract and requires processing at remote laboratories using expensive, stationary equipment.

(TM)In-Check is a trademark of STMicroelectronics

STMicroelectronics

CONTACT: Michael Kassin, of Stanton Crenshaw Communications forSTMicroelectronics, +1-212-780-1900 ext. 528, mkassin@stantoncrenshaw.com;Dr. Rosemary Tan of Veredus Laboratories Pte Ltd, Mobile: +65-9619-9690,rosemary@vereduslabs.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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