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Improving Transfusion Safety: Fenwal, Verax Biomedical Sign Agreement for Rapid, Point-of-Care Bacteria Test
Date:7/14/2009

LAKE ZURICH, Ill., July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Fenwal Inc., a global medical technology company focused on improving blood collection, separation, safety and availability, announced today it has signed a five-year exclusive worldwide agreement with Verax Biomedical Incorporated to market, sell and distribute Verax's unique PanGenera(R) Detection (PGD) technology, a rapid diagnostic test used to detect bacterial contaminants in donated blood platelets.

The Verax PGD(R) test is the only rapid test for the detection of bacteria cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CE Marked in Europe. Development is underway to apply the Verax PGD(R) technology to detect bacteria in other blood components, tissues for transplantation and cell-based therapies.

The Verax PGD(R) test, based on proprietary technology developed by Verax, consists of an easy-to-use disposable handheld device and reagents that work together to detect the presence of bacterial contaminants in platelets. The test can be performed in fewer than 30 minutes and is designed for use in hospitals, cancer centers and other sites of care as a safeguard immediately prior to transfusion.

More than 5 million platelet doses are transfused annually worldwide. Platelets are tiny cells in blood that help blood clot. They are transfused when platelets levels are low - as, for example, a result of illness or the side effect of some chemotherapy treatments.

An estimated one in 2,000 to 3,000 platelet units may contain bacteria, and up to 50 percent of bacteria-contaminated platelets may escape detection by conventional culture testing, according to experts.(i) Bacteria can cause fatal reactions, especially in immune-compromised patients. The Verax PGD(R) test, a rapid immunoassay, targets antigens found on the surface of a wide spectrum of common bacteria known to be pathogenic
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SOURCE Fenwal Inc.
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