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Cepheid Loses Influenza Dx Contract with CDC

This article and headline have been updated from a previous version, which incorrectly stated that the terminated contract was worth $2.4 million. That was the value for the first two phases of the project, which were completed successfully, a company spokesperson said.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Cepheid today said its contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop an influenza virus diagnostic has been terminated.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based diagnostics developer did not explain why the CDC terminated the contract to develop a rapid point-of-care diagnostic to detect influenza viruses A and B and the H5N1 avian flu virus in human respiratory specimens.
Cepheid CEO John Bishop said in a statement that the company's financial guidance for 2007 "remains unchanged."
CDC awarded the $2.4 million contract to Cepheid in December 2006.
At the time, the company said it would "develop an automated test for use on the GeneXpert system using real-time PCR, which will not require specific expertise or specialized training."
The CDC at the same time issued a small flurry of influenza diagnostic contracts totaling over $12 million, including $4.5 million to Nanogen, $3.8 million to Iquum, and $700,000 to MesoScale.
CDC Director Julie Gerberding said at the time of the awards that the center was aiming to discover "promising technology that could help doctors treat their patients faster and help public health authorities track influenza viruses that could spur a pandemic."

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