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December 5, 2002 | Customer News

Abbott and Tecan announce an agreement covering automated sample preparation systems for molecular diagnostics

  • Novel Abbott magnetic separator system to be integrated onto Tecan’s Genesis Freedom workstation
  • Systems streamline nucleic acid preparation steps before performing molecular diagnostic assays for hepatitis C and HIV
  • Enables laboratories to perform molecular diagnostic tests more easily, with higher efficiency leading to reduced costs and improved productiv

Abbott Park, Ill., and Zurich, Switzerland, 5 December 2002 – Abbott Laboratories and Tecan today announced a long-term supply agreement for the development and commercialization of an automated sample preparation system for molecular diagnostic assays.

The system is based on a novel magnetic separator system, proprietary to Abbott, which will be integrated onto Tecan’s Genesis Freedom automated robotic and liquid handling workstation. This new system is designed to streamline the nucleic acid sample preparation steps prior to performing Abbott's molecular diagnostic assays for hepatitis C and HIV, marketed outside the United States, and other future molecular assays from Abbott and its alliance partner, Celera Diagnostics. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Before a biological sample can be analyzed for its DNA or RNA content, a variety of complex procedures must be performed by skilled laboratory technicians to isolate, purify and concentrate the nucleic acid. The majority of clinical laboratory customers currently perform these time-consuming preparation procedures manually.

"By automating the sample preparation process, we can provide our laboratory customers the ability to perform molecular diagnostic tests more easily and more efficiently, helping them reduce costs and enhance productivity," said Edward L. Michael, vice president, Immunoassay and Clinical Chemistry, Abbott Laboratories. This agreement will further strengthen our expanding portfolio of products in molecular diagnostics, one of the fastest-growing segments of the market."  

Under the terms of the agreement, Tecan will be responsible for manufacturing the instruments and Abbott will distribute them worldwide and provide technical support and service.  Initial data using the automated sample preparation system indicate excellent reproducibility and preparation of nucleic acids with high yield, which will complement the sensitivity and dynamic range characteristics of Abbott’s molecular assays.

"Abbott has demonstrated feasibility using a highly innovative magnetic separator system that offers major advantages for nucleic acid sample preparation," said Christoph Mauracher, Head of Global Marketing for Clinical Diagnostics at Tecan. "Our automated Genesis Freedom platform is the ideal partner for this technology since it will significantly increase the throughput and productivity of both nucleic acid sample preparation and subsequent important clinical diagnostic tests."

The worldwide launch of the automated sample preparation system is planned for the first quarter of 2003.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global leader in in vitro diagnostics and offers a broad range of innovative instrument systems and tests across key segments in the global diagnostics market, including hospitals, reference labs, blood banks, physician offices, clinics and consumers.  As part of its molecular diagnostics business, Abbott also offers innovative genomic tests for cancer, including the Vysis PathVysion® HER-2 DNA Probe kit to identify women with metastatic breast cancer who could benefit from Herceptin® therapy, and Vysis UroVysion®, which detects genetic changes in bladder cells for use in monitoring bladder cancer recurrence.  Abbott and Celera Diagnostics announced on June 24, 2002, a long-term strategic alliance to develop, manufacture and market a broad range in in vitro molecular diagnostic products for disease detection, disease progression monitoring and therapy selection.  Celera Diagnostics is a 50-50 joint venture between the Applied Biosystems Group and the Celera Genomics Group of Applera Corporation.

Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals, and medical products, including devices and diagnostics.  The company employs approximately 70,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.  In 2001, the company's sales and net earnings were $16.3 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.

For more information, please contact :

Tecan:

Dr. Emile C. Sutcliffe
Chief Executive Officer
Tel.: +41 (0)44 922 81 11
Fax: +41 (0)44 922 88 89
e-mail: investor@tecan.com
Internet: www.tecan.com

Rochat & Partners:

Rochat & Partners
Christophe Lamps 
Tel.: +41 (0)22 786 54 55
Fax: +41 (0)22 786 54 58
e-mail: clamps@rochat-pr.ch

Abbott:

Media
Don Braakman
Phone: +1 (847) 937-1237

Financial Community
John Thomas
Phone: +1 (847) 938-2655