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BD Biosciences (BDX) Release: New Collaboration Aims to Improve Access to TB Diagnostics  
3/27/2012 11:42:37 AM

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX) and FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) have announced a new collaboration to promote access to early and accurate diagnosis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) among HIV-infected patients and other vulnerable populations in India, a country that accounts for nearly 25 percent of TB cases globally.

The 18-month program will focus on increasing the number of accurately diagnosed TB patients in the northern region of India's Karnataka state. The BD-FIND collaboration will help to increase access to state-of-the-art diagnostics by extending an existing pricing agreement, which significantly reduces the price of the BD BACTEC MGIT system. The initiative, in partnership with Kasturba Medical College (KMC), also seeks to establish a new collaboration model in which a private hospital provides critical medical services to public patients.

"TB is a dangerous disease, and it requires an all-hands-on-deck effort to control it and prevent the rise of drug resistance," said Tom Polen, President, BD Diagnostics Diagnostic Systems. "Through our collaboration with FIND and KMC, we're helping to do that by ensuring that more people in India will get tested quickly and accurately, and treated appropriately from the beginning."

"The first step to treatment is having an accurate diagnosis," said Philippe Jacon, Chief Executive Officer, FIND. "It is widely acknowledged that affordability, privacy, social stigma, easy access and rapid turnaround time make the private sector a primary choice for nearly 40 percent of Indian patients. Our latest agreement with BD will give a highly disease-threatened community in India access to the technologies and health programs needed for a healthier life." Jacon attended the signing ceremony for the BD-FIND partnership in India, along with Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President, BD.

Helping KMC become an accredited center for performing culture and drug-susceptibility testing, BD will facilitate laboratory staff training at KMC through September 2013, offer BD-FIND negotiated pricing on equipment, and provide technical expertise. The partnership will also facilitate the transportation of samples to enable rapid processing and diagnosis at KMC. Positive TB results will be sent without delay to district hospitals, helping ensure that MDR- and extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) patients receive timely follow-up treatment. The program will also help track patient adherence to recommended treatment protocols.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 99,000 MDR-TB cases were reported in India in 2008. USAID reports that Northern Karnataka has one of India's largest HIV burdens and, as noted by UNAIDS, HIV-TB co-infection is one of the leading causes of death for a person with HIV.

India currently implements the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) through the public health system to promote access to technologies and strengthen healthcare systems. However, with delays in the establishment and accreditation of laboratories through this program, limited testing facilities, and inadequately trained laboratory personnel, properly diagnosing and detecting strains of TB has become increasingly difficult.

About FIND
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics is dedicated to developing affordable, easy-to-use and cutting edge diagnostic tests that save lives in the poorest areas of the world. From the initial idea and discovery stage to putting new tests into practice, the organization works with multiple and diverse groups, such as academia, industry, donors, partners in the field, Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization. With five new diagnostic tools for TB already in use, FIND also has established programmes in malaria and sleeping sickness, and has begun working on other neglected diseases, such as leishmaniasis and Chagas. Launched in 2003, the not-for-profit Foundation is ISO certified and financed by both the private and public sectors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of the Netherlands, European Union, UNITAID, UK Department for International Development, National Institutes of Health (USA), UBS Optimus Foundation and others.

About BD
BD is a leading medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health through the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 29,000 associates in more than 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public. For more information, please visit www.bd.com.

Contact: Alyssa Zeff
BD Public Relations
(201) 847-4358
Email: alyssa_zeff@bd.com

SOURCE BD-Becton Dickinson


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