ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -. Beckman Coulter, Inc. (NYSE: BEC) announced today that it has licensed certain rights to testing for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. Under the agreement, Beckman Coulter can develop, manufacture and sell a quantitative viral load HCV blood test for use on the company's molecular diagnostic instrument, which is in development. As a result, Beckman Coulter expects to take a charge of $12 million in the second quarter of 2008.
HCV viral load testing is essential for managing patients affected by the hepatitis C virus and is used to monitor therapy for the duration of the infection. An estimated 180 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis virus and an additional 3 to 4 million people are newly infected each year. A hepatitis C infection can cause acute hepatitis and chronic liver disease including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Two thirds of all liver transplants in developed countries are the result of these diseases(1).
Scott Garrett, chairman, president and CEO of Beckman Coulter, commented, "We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet our customers' growing needs for HCV testing. Our access to this intellectual property will expand the served market for our 'sample-to-result' molecular diagnostics system, expected to launch in 2010."
"We are pleased to collaborate with Beckman Coulter to broaden the availability of this important test," said Dave Okrongly, senior vice president, molecular diagnostics, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Division. "This agreement reaffirms Siemens' commitment to enable physicians worldwide to improve the health care they offer patients."
Garrett added, "Routine molecular testing is the fastest growing segment in clinical diagnostics and represents an important part of our growth strategy. The addition of HCV will enhance our infectious disease test menu while furthering our dedication to improving patient health and reducing the cost of care."
About Beckman Coulter
Beckman Coulter, Inc., based in Orange County, California, develops, manufactures and markets products that simplify, automate and innovate complex biomedical tests. More than 200,000 Beckman Coulter systems operate in laboratories around the world, supplying critical information for improving patient health and reducing the cost of care. Recurring revenue, consisting of supplies, test kits, service and operating-type lease payments, represents approximately 78 percent of the company's 2007 annual revenue of $2.76 billion. For more information, visit http://www.beckmancoulter.com.
(1) World Health Organization (WHO) 2008. Web site accessed March 4, 2008: http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/diseases/viral_cancers/en/index2.html.
SOURCE Beckman Coulter, Inc.