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Consort Medical Takes Nearly 20 Percent Stake in Atlas Genetics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Consort Medical, a UK-based manufacturer of drug delivery and medical device technologies, has acquired a roughly 20 percent stake in Atlas Genetics for £1.1 million ($1.8 million).

The firms also announced an alliance, under which Consort's Bespak division will design disposable test cards that will be part of Atlas' rapid, point-of-care molecular diagnostics system. Consort said that it also has received long-term manufacturing rights for the cards.

Bristol, UK-based Atlas has developed the Velox platform, which is intended to provide a sample-to-result time of 30 minutes. The firm hopes to launch the system within Europe by the end of 2012, followed by regulatory clearance and launch in the US.

Atlas is focused on developing tests for a range of infectious diseases, such as hospital-acquired infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, and meningitis. The first tests planned for the Velox platform include assays for Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

The Velox system has been designed to run 20 tests per cartridge. Each cartridge contains all reagents needed to extract DNA, amplify a specific sequence, and detect the target, according to Atlas.

Consort expects to invest an additional £400,000 in Atlas by the end of March 2012, most likely as part of a round of fundraising. In addition, the firm will receive a non-executive seat on Atlas' board.