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ABI to Help Cepheid Build Anthrax-Detecting Technology for US Gov t

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 - Applied Biosystems will help Cepheid develop bioterror agent-detecting reagents for use with Cepheid's GeneXpert system in a broader government-funded anti-anthrax project, Cepheid said today.


The reagents will likely be used by the US Postal Service as part of a broad agreement that called for Cepheid and other companies to develop tools than can detect anthrax.


As GenomeWeb reported in May, the USPS awarded Cepheid $750,000 to participate in a pilot program designed to devise systems to detect anthrax attacks. Specifically, the deal makes Cepheid part of a team led by US aerospace giant Northrop Grumman that will spearhead a $3.7 million plan to evaluate "DNA-based biothreat-detection technology," Cepheid said at the time.


Depending on the outcome of this pilot program, Cepheid had said the USPC would award a "multi-million-dollar" contract by the end of September to install the technology in most of its 300 automatic mail-sorting facilities across the US. It was not immediately clear whether this deal with ABI signals an increased interest by the USPS or merely a continuation of the pilot program; officials for Cepheid, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., were not available for comment at deadline.


Under the pilot deal, Cepheid would manufacture the GeneXpert DNA tests and all requisite reagents while Northrop Grumman would sell the systems.

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