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Netherlands Awards Roche Contract for Cervical Cancer Screening Program Using Cobas HPV Assay

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche today announced that Dutch authorities have awarded it a five-year contract to implement the Cobas HPV test to replace traditional Pap smear testing as the first-line, primary screening test in the country's national cervical cancer screening program. 

The decision by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands is expected to make the country the first with an organized cervical screening program to move from the Pap test to primary HPV screening, Roche said. The new Dutch program, which is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2016, includes a longer period between routine screening visits and the option for women to self-collect their screening samples. 

Financial details were not disclosed. 

As Dutch authorities conducted a public tender process in which they evaluated submissions from diagnostic firms based on their tests' performance, quality, and price, only HPV tests using DNA PCR-based technology were considered for the tender, Roche said. The company noted that the decision to use HPV as the primary test is based on scientific evidence demonstrating the superiority of the technology over Pap cytology in its ability to detect more precancerous disease.

"We believe countries around the world will be looking toward the Netherlands as a potential model for how to best implement HPV primary screening to prevent cervical cancer," Roche Diagnostics Chief Operating Officer Roland Diggelmann said in a statement. 

The Cobas HPV test is the only HPV assay approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that provides specific genotyping information for HPV 16 and 18, the highest-risk types, while also reporting the 12 other high-risk types as pooled results, Roche said. The test runs on the Cobas 4800 platform.

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