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ZyGEM Corporation and DIAGNOTEC Collaborate on Diagnostics for Detecting a Devastating Virus Attacking Salmon


6/17/2008 10:43:55 AM

HAMILTON, New Zealand, SOLANA BEACH, Calif. and SANTIAGO, Chile, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- ZyGEM Corp Ltd. and DIAGNOTEC S.A. today announced they have entered into an agreement to produce molecular diagnostics for the detection of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), a deadly pathogen that attacks salmon and other fish species. The collaboration is harnessing ZyGEM's advanced enzymatic nucleic acid extraction technology and DIAGNOTEC's expertise in identification and testing for diseases affecting fish and other food crops to provide fast, accurate and affordable detection of IPNV. DIAGNOTEC will use ZyGEM's enzymatic DNA detection tools in its IPNV products and services for the Chilean salmon industry, which is among the largest producers of salmon in the world.

"As demands on the global food industry rise, innovative approaches to maintaining the health and productivity of food stock species are growing in importance," said Paul Kinnon, CEO of ZyGEM. "DIAGNOTEC is an emerging leader in the development of innovative diagnostics to detect and prevent the spread of food species pathogens, and we welcome the opportunity to incorporate our unique enzyme-based nucleic acid extraction technology to further enhance their diagnostic products and services for the aquaculture sector."

IPNV is a highly contagious virus that was relatively uncommon in wild fish but whose incidence is on the rise as a result of the increase in large-scale fish farming in a number of regions, including Chile, Norway and Scotland. IPNV can be easily transmitted through contact with infected water and then passed along to offspring, posing a threat to the fast-growing $70 billion worldwide fish farming industry* and to wild fish stocks. Vigilance in detection of the virus and prompt destruction of infected fish and eggs are essential to contain the spread of IPNV. The molecular diagnostics approach pioneered by DIAGNOTEC provides for easy sample handling, speed of delivery of results and low cost, and the company currently provides IPNV screening services to approximately 70% of the Chilean salmon industry.

"DIAGNOTEC carried out careful evaluation and validation before incorporating ZyGEM's simple but powerful nucleic acid extraction technology into our IPNV diagnostics, which will further enhance the speed of our analyses while maintaining the accuracy and performance of our approach," said DIAGNOTEC CEO Dr. Geraldine Mlynarz. "We view the availability of high quality, accessible diagnostics as critical to the control of diseases such as IPNV, which threaten both the economic health of farmers and the adequacy of the global food supply. We look forward to working with ZyGEM to make these tests available to fish farmers worldwide."

Mr. Kinnon added, "This collaboration is another example of the increasing success of our strategy of partnering with a diverse mix of leading firms around the globe. ZyGEM especially appreciates the role of New Zealand Trade Enterprise (NZTE) in introducing and supporting the two companies."

Neville Jordan, Chairman of the Board of ZyGEM, noted, "This partnership is another affirmation of ZyGEM's strategy to actively seek collaborations with a wide variety of international partners, and is in line with the company's expansion goals."

* United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2006 Report.

About ZyGEM

ZyGEM Corporation Limited is a rapidly growing biotechnology company with a range of innovative enzyme-based products and technologies based on the company's exclusive collection of microorganisms from extreme environments. ZyGEM's technology has significant competitive advantages over existing methods and has potential applications in a number of sizeable global markets. ZyGEM currently produces DNA extraction and detection products, molecular biology enzymes and individual enzymes and diagnostics, serving life sciences customers in basic research, forensics, clinical diagnostics and agriculture. ZyGEM has facilities in New Zealand and the U.S.A. For more information, visit www.ZyGEM.com

About DIAGNOTEC

DIAGNOTEC S.A. is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of services and products for the control of infectious diseases that can cause huge economic losses to animal production. Applying advanced technology, DIAGNOTEC has developed and offers molecular diagnostic services for relevant pathogens to the aquaculture, livestock producers and other food industries. DIAGNOTEC has also designed a genetic program to assist in salmon breeding selection. For more information, visit www.diagnotec.cl

CONTACT: Corporate, Paul Kinnon, President and CEO of ZyGEM Corp Ltd.,
+1-858-720-8333; Media, Barbara Lindheim, GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners,
+1-917 355-9234

Web site: http://www.ZyGEM.com/
http://www.diagnotec.cl/


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