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Epistem Announces Tuberculosis Diagnostic Collaboration

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Epistem plc, has announced the formation of a Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic collaboration with Xcelris Laboratories, one of India's leading Genomics research and Diagnostic testing companies.

Epistem and Xcelris will be evaluating Epistem's Genedrive™ molecular device as part of India's RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme) which started in 1997 and since 2006 has covered the whole of India to ensure the rapid diagnosis and treatment of TB sufferers.

India has the largest number of TB sufferers in the world, more than twice the number in China, which has the second highest infection rate.

According to the World Health Organisation, every year 2 million new patients in India develop TB of which roughly half a million cases are fatal with the highest incidence occurring in remote rural areas.

Genedrive™ enables a major advance in molecular diagnostic testing by providing a rapid (less than 30 minutes), low cost, simple to use device with high sensitivity and specificity.

Genedrive™ will be targeted at identifying TB infection at an early stage, and given its size and capabilities lends itself to use in remote locations.

Positioned as a handheld 'consumable' device, Genedrive brings a new 'Point of Need' approach to diagnostic testing across a broad spectrum of infectious diseases such as TB, Dengue and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's).

The TB evaluation programme with Xcelris will continue through 2011, following which it is anticipated that it will be rolled out into a select number of remote locations prior to a full evaluation of market positioning.