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UgenTec Lands PCR Software Contract in France for COVID-19 MDx Testing

NEW YORK – Belgian molecular laboratory software provider UgenTec said on Thursday that it has inked an agreement with France's Union des Hôpitaux pour les Achats (UniHA) for the purchase of UgenTec's PCR analysis software for 35 private and public laboratories in France.

Under the agreement, the labs will be able to use UgenTec's FastFinder analysis software to scale up testing for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens, UgenTec said. UniHA will offer the software as part of its molecular biology portfolio to the private and public hospitals and molecular diagnostic laboratories it represents in France, and 10 labs have already opted in, the company said.

UgenTec declined to disclose financial details of the agreement, but a spokesperson noted that the model is "sample volume driven" with labs opting into different tiers. "This gives them the flexibility to deal with varying sample volumes," he said.

FastFinder is a workflow and data analysis suite designed to support molecular laboratories' scalability, standardization, traceability, and compliance. UgenTec said the software is expected to support SARS-CoV-2 testing at the laboratories immediately, and open PCR workflows for other pathogens in the future. UgenTec anticipates that FastFinder will support SARS-CoV-2 PCR assays developed by BioMérieux, BGI Genomics, and Thermo Fisher Scientific using PCR systems from companies such as Roche, Bio-Rad Laboratories, and Thermo Fisher.

"FastFinder is the perfect solution for labs looking to standardize and automate the data analysis and reporting loop of their workflows," Thierry Blanchard, head of digital health at UniHA, said in a statement.

Alexandre Gaymard, a molecular biologist at Hospices Civils de Lyon (CHU Lyon), said that his organization "immediately recognized the challenge UgenTec is solving. With thousands of samples being processed on open PCR platforms, a lot of work was being put into data analysis. In analysis scale-up, FastFinder is more efficient than manual analysis and allows for full standardization of data analysis."

Earlier this month, UgenTec said that it had extended a collaboration with the Belgian government involving the automation of PCR data analysis for high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 labs in the country. In February, UgenTec said that it had partnered with LGC Biosearch Technologies to launch an artificial intelligence-based workflow for the detection of the novel coronavirus.