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Beckman Coulter Inks Molecular Diagnostics Collaboration with Irish Researchers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National University of Ireland, Galway, today announced that Beckman Coulter is launching a four-year collaborative research program with researchers at the university in the field of molecular diagnostics.
 
Beckman Coulter has a manufacturing facility in Galway, where it makes hematology and immunoassay reagents used in its diagnostic instruments. According to the university, the agreement marks the first collaborative research undertaken by Beckman in Ireland.
 
The alliance will include the creation of a research team of 10 Masters and PhD researchers at the university.
 
Beckman is developing a next-generation molecular diagnostics platform that it plans to launch in 2010.
 
Beckman Coulter initially disclosed its plans to develop the platform, now called the UniCel DxN, a little over a year ago. It laid the groundwork for that platform through a series of moves including its $140 million acquisition of Agencourt Bioscience in April 2005, a settlement with Applied Biosystems over thermal cycler patents in 2006, and a licensing deal with Roche covering real-time PCR patents.
 
Last month at its annual business review meeting in New York, the firm said it expects the initial menu for the DxN to include sexually transmitted disease tests; nosocomial infection tests, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; a compromised immunity test, such as HIV viral load and cytomegalovirus; and urgent microbiology for spinal fluid analysis.
 
The agreement with NUI provides Beckman with “access to intellectual property for the development of tests for infectious diseases including sepsis; hospital-acquired infections; and sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and Neisseria,” Mike Whelan, group vice president of Beckman’s High Sensitivity Testing group, said in a statement today.
 
NUI’s National Center for Biomedical Engineering Science has an active molecular diagnostics program that has been developing molecular-based infectious disease tests.
 
The collaboration with Beckman is being supported by IDA Ireland, an Irish government agency responsible for drumming up investment in the country from overseas companies.
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