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Genedrive Ends Indian Distribution Deal for TB Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genedrive said today that has terminated a distribution deal for its tuberculosis and antibiotic-resistance test in India with Xcelris Labs.

The test is designed to rapidly detect both Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection and rifampicin (RIF) resistance in human sputum samples, and runs on the Genedrive PCR-based molecular diagnostics platform. Genedrive — formerly known as Epistem —  signed on Xcelris to market the test in India in 2012.

According to Genedrive, commercialization of the test in India has been "challenging," and the company previously encountered a sample preparation problem related to a specific supplier component. A fix for the issue was successfully tested in Indian reference labs, Genedrive added, but it experienced "difficulties assessing the impact of this through our commercial partner Xcelris."

As a result, Genedrive said it has ended its agreement with Xcelris and is reviewing options for marketing the MTB/RIF test in India and elsewhere. The firm added that it does not expect to generate short-term revenues from the test.

"The termination of the contract is of course disappointing; however the overall market dynamics of MTB/RIF have not changed since we first described the opportunity," Genedrive CEO David Budd said in a statement. "With the benefit of additional experience acquired in the field, we believe that with some enhancement to sample collection we can introduce a product suitable for not only the Indian market, but the broader global markets into which we now have distribution channels."

Last month, Genedrive announced the signing of a distribution agreement with Sysmex Europe for the Genedrive platform and related HCV test covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.