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Virco BVBA signs Hepatitis C licensing agreement with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc.
 
 
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Mechelen, Belgium, 28 May 2009: Virco BVBA has today signed a global research and development, non-exclusive licensing agreement with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc (NY, USA). Under this agreement Siemens is providing Virco a license which will enable Virco to develop and commercialize a new hepatitis C research service testing platform. This platform will initially be utilized 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 license 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. He added, "Virco has a considerable heritage as a leader in HIV resistance interpretation, and is well positioned via this license 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, April 23rd 20091. 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 characterized, as well 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.
 
About Hepatitis C Chronic hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus, transmitted predominantly via the blood borne route. Approximately 170 million people are estimated to be infected worldwide, with a minority diagnosed and treated with current standard of care therapy. Hepatitis C infection can lead to serious events of cirrhosis, primary liver cancer and potentially liver failure in a proportion of patients. Considerable clinical development activity is ongoing to address the unmet need of treating patients where the current standard of care has limited efficacy, fails or is not tolerable. There is no protective vaccine currently available.2 About Virco BVBA Virco is a pioneer and leader in HIV resistance interpretation. In addition to providing resistance interpretation, education and facilitating access to resistance interpretation worldwide, it actively collaborates with hospitals and academic institutions in researching topics of virological and clinical relevance in HIV, HCV and other infectious diseases. It is also actively engaged in the use of new diagnostic technologies such as pyrosequencing and in developing bioinformatic tools and interpretation for these new technologies to realize potential new products for managing resistance and disease. Virco's goal is to facilitate personalized clinical decision-making via advanced diagnostic and bioinformatic tools to improve patient outcomes.
 
References: 1. Dumont S, Fevery B, Van den Brande K, Baumer V, Ceulemans H, De Wolf H, Stuyver LJ, Koletzki D; Development of a platform to detect drug resistance mutations in the non-structural protein region of the hepatitis C virus genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Poster); International Liver Meeting 2009 (44th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver); Copenhagen, Denmark: 23rd April 2009
 
2. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/; accessed 6th May 2009
 
Press Contact: Mr Hans Vanavermaete
Director, Global Virology Communications and Public Affairs Tel: +32 (15) 461017
 
 
 
 
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