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Immunetics Wins $2.8 Million Contract for New Type of HIV Test

Boston-based Immunetics won a $2.8 million contract from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new test for HIV that will prevent a false positive diagnosis in individuals who have received HIV vaccines in clinical trials. The vaccine response alone results in a false positive result with current HIV tests, resulting in erroneous diagnosis.

Boston, Mass (PRWEB) May 18, 2010 -- Immunetics, Inc. (Boston, MA) has been selected to receive a $2.8 million contract as part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study-II (REDS-II) project, a long term epidemiologic study of blood safety involving HIV and other infectious and non-infectious complications of blood transfusion.

The contract will be administered by Westat, a research organization based in Rockville, MD, which is the coordinating center for the REDS-II project. Under the contract, Immunetics will develop and supply a new test for HIV, which will uniquely distinguish individuals infected with HIV from those who have been immunized with experimental HIV vaccines in clinical trials. At present, vaccination leads to a false positive result on the current generation of HIV screening tests, a problem highlighted by recent publications in medical journals.

Clinical trials for HIV vaccines have involved thousands of vaccine recipients worldwide and continue to enroll more subjects, who stand to benefit from availability of the new test. The NHLBI initiated this project because it will provide a test which will be useful in screening blood donors in those regions of the world where HIV vaccine trials have been or are being conducted and to avoid the permanent deferral of those donors found not to be infected with HIV. Immunetics will work with a consortium of researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research where the original research leading to the new test was carried out, Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco, and others. The contract is valued at $9.2 million with all options exercised.

“This contract award presents a major opportunity for Immunetics and will leverage our longtime experience in the field of HIV diagnostics and assay development” said Dr. Andrew Levin, Immunetics' CEO and Scientific Director who will be the Principal Investigator on the project. “We see a great fit between our technology and the basic scientific advances made by the research teams at CBER and NIH. Given the vital need for an effective HIV vaccine, the test which we will be developing could play an essential role in current and future vaccine trials. We are particularly pleased to announce this award today, which has been designated by the NIH as National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, and are very excited by the potential to make a significant contribution to public health in this area.”

Immunetics offers state-of-the-art assay technology for infectious disease diagnosis and pathogen detection, and for over ten years has been a leading innovator of tests for bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. The company produces and markets a range of infectious disease assay kits and instruments. Its mission is better, cost-efficient care through more accurate diagnosis.

Contact: Andrew Levin - 617-896-9100 ext. 13 or alevin(at)immunetics(dot)com

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