NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – GeneThera announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Applied Genetics has signed a deal with the Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico to validate GeneThera's platform for Johne's disease.
Under the terms of the deal, the university will validate the HerdCheck Field Collection System molecular assay in Mexico. Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The HerdCheck technology is based on high-throughput robotics and real-time PCR.
Johne's disease, which is incurable, afflicts cows, sheep, and goats and is caused by the Mycobacterium paratuberculosis sub. avium. The infection spreads to humans through contaminated dairy products, triggering the onset of Crohn's disease.
Gilberto Chaves Griz, professor of veterinary pathology in the department of veterinary medicine at UNAM, and director of the Johne's Disease Center, said that while Mexico has one of the largest cow, goat, and sheep populations in Northern and Central America, no data exists about the rate of infection of Johne's disease.
"It is extremely critical that we can diagnose JD in Mexico using the most advanced technology available. It is also of paramount importance to establish a Johne's disease program at the national level," he said. "It is our firm intention to establish a national testing program for Johne's disease in Mexico with the help of Applied Genetics and GeneThera's state of the art technology."
GeneThera is a molecular diagnostics firm based in Westminster, Colo. Applied Genetics is focused on commercializing molecular tests for Johne's disease in Mexico, GeneThera said.
Tony Milici, CEO of GeneThera and interim president of Applied Genetics, said, "UNAM's support is of fundamental importance to speed up the validation process of GeneThera's Johne's disease molecular testing, which will lead to JD test approval by the Mexican government."