IGEN and USDA Expand Cooperative Agreement
IGEN has announced that it is widening its ongoing homeland security initiatives through an expanded collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, to provide government regulatory agencies and commercial food processors with rapid methods to more accurately detect pathogens in public food and water supplies.
Under the expanded program, IGEN will collaborate with the USDA on the development of ORIGEN(R)-based tests for pathogens such as Vibrio and Staphylococcus aureus, and toxins such as botulism and Shiga toxin, and Staph. enterotoxin. The collaboration also will focus on developing superior culture methods that can be used with the Company's PATHIGEN(R) tests. IGEN will have the right to commercialize all products resulting from this collaboration.
Under the expanded agreement, the USDA activities will include among other things, culture method development, reagent development and sourcing, initial test format development and test comparison.
IGEN will provide technical assistance, instrumentation, reagents and specifications for commercial tests. The Company began its cooperative research program with USDA in 1999. This led to the development of a rapid test for E. coli O157 based on IGEN's proprietary ORIGEN technology that was 100 times more sensitive than other E. coli tests on the market. High sensitivity is a critical attribute for a test because of the need to detect E. coli O157 in food products even when it is present at low levels. Commonly used methods of detecting the pathogen in meat products often fail to pick up low levels of contamination. The success of this product development effort led to the commercial launch of the Company's PATHIGEN products for the presumptive identification of E. coli O157 and other pathogens, and the U.S. Army has purchased the PATHIGEN(R) tests and instruments to protect military troops from food borne illnesses.
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Posted on October 12, 2002