DUNDEE, Scotland, November 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Axis-Shield plc (LSE:ASD, OSE:ASD) ("Axis-Shield" or the "Company"), the international and innovative in vitro diagnostics company, today announces its participation in World Diabetes Day, a global campaign led by the International Diabetes Foundation to engage people in diabetes advocacy and awareness. Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013 and the campaign slogan for 2010 is 'Let's take control of diabetes Now.' The Axis-Shield Point-of-Care ("PoC") offices in Oslo and Dundee will mark the day with a number of initiatives across its global sites and have encouraged all Axis-Shield subsidiaries and distributors to do the same. Axis-Shield is present in 80 countries around the world and continues to broaden its global presence through the growth of its important diabetes testing franchise.
Diabetes presents a growing burden on the world's economy and will shift the drive to PoC testing in emerging markets, regions where Axis-Shield is well positioned to be part of this change with its highly innovative Afinion(TM) and NycoCard(R) PoC diagnostic HbA1c tests for diabetes. HbA1c is clinically recognised as the key marker for diabetes management, reflecting how well the patient has managed blood glucose levels over the preceding three months and is the fastest growing segment of the global PoC test market.
A key driver of growth for Axis-Shield is its presence in emerging markets where the Company's high-quality and established NycoCard(R) test platform for HbA1c is extremely well suited to diabetes management, offering simple, accurate and fast testing at the PoC. Axis-Shield is investing in developing its brand in emerging markets and regularly hosts educational workshops, seminars and other marketing activities with its distribution partners and via collaborations with pharmaceutical companies in certain regions to increase awareness of the need for regular testing and management of diabetes.
At present, Axis-Shield's emerging market strategy is focused on the establishment and growth of PoC for diabetes in the top five emerging markets; China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil. India has the highest population of people affected by diabetes globally and a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has demonstrated that diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in China. Axis-Shield is also replicating this strategy in other areas in which diabetes prevalence is increasing quickly, notably Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia and the Middle East.
Axis-Shield has strengthened its sales team during 2010 to include a locally-based Area Manager in Latin America with responsibility for broadening the Company's presence and establishing PoC testing regimes in nascent territories. In addition, Axis-Shield has also recruited an Area Manager with an appreciation of the relevant cultures to spearhead growth in Africa and the Middle East.
Axis-Shield opened a representative office in China in 2009 and is committed to the growth of its regional franchise through the addition of up to 18 regional dealers in 2011 to utilize NycoCard(R) and Afinion(TM) PoC testing potential. China's population is expected to reach 1.4bn by the end of 2010 but it only currently accounts for 4% of the global in vitro diagnostics ("IVD") market. The PoC testing market is growing rapidly, driven by the Chinese Government's decision to provide acceptable healthcare to people living in small cities and rural areas. The adoption of HbA1c usage in the diagnosis of diabetes will also push the development of the HbA1c testing
The Indian Government is focused on improving healthcare, highlighted by its launch in 2005 of the national Rural Health Mission. Both Axis-Shield's Afinion(TM) and NycoCard(R) systems are positioned to aid physicians in addressing growing diabetes issues. NycoCard(R) is already a market leader in PoC diagnostic testing in India and with increasing demand for better and effective healthcare particular in the cities, Afinion(TM) will be a driver in the HbA1c PoC testing.
The prevalence of diabetes in Latin America is increasing and there is a rapidly growing need for immediate HbA1c results, improved patient care and healthcare savings due to the impact of realising cost efficiencies and the awareness of long-term diabetes complications. Axis-Shield will launch Afinion(TM) in Mexico in late 2010 and Brazil will follow in 2011 as part of its strategy to strengthen the current PoC markets which are in their infancy. NycoCard(R) already has a strong market position in Mexico and established successful partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers through our local partner. This has focused on addressing the need to offer innovative access to PoC testing and the Company has had particular success in the workplace, through the use of mobile testing sites. Axis-Shield and its partners will continue the roll-out of this strategy throughout Latin America.
Africa offers a vast potential market for Axis-Shield as it seeks to broaden its presence beyond the Northern region into West Africa. The political and economic climate is improving in these regions and there is a growing awareness of the need to offer greatly improved healthcare solutions.
The Middle Eastern healthcare market is showing encouraging regional signs of improvement and the NycoCard(R) market is already growing with significant room for growth in this high value market remaining apparent. Axis-Shield's strategy to market NycoCard(R) in the Gulf countries is already delivering promising results. The Company also sees significant market potential for Afinion(TM).
Other emerging markets
Axis-Shield has demonstrated recent sales penetration and the potential for growth in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Malaysia where there is a high incidence of diabetes and currently a centralized testing strategy with demand for PoC testing via NycoCard(R) increasing.
Commenting on today's announcement, Ian Gilham, Chief Executive Officer of Axis-Shield, said: "Axis-Shield is pleased to be a provider of diabetes Point of Care testing in emerging markets where there is a huge unmet medical need to deliver patient care of the highest quality. Our established infrastructure and broad product offering via Afinion(TM) and NycoCard(R) positions us as a pioneer of HbA1c testing solutions globally and we remain focused on raising awareness of the need for accurate testing and management.
"Whilst the concept of HbA1c Point of Care testing is still in its infancy in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, we are committed to investing in emerging markets and are focused on growth in these important markets and disease area."
Notes for Editors
Axis-Shield (http://www.axis-shield.com) is an international and innovative in vitro diagnostics company, headquartered in Dundee with R&D and manufacturing bases in Dundee and Oslo. The Group specialises in the supply of instruments and tests for the rapidly growing physician's office testing market and the development, manufacture and marketing of innovative proprietary diagnostics kits in areas of clinical need, including cardiovascular and neurological diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Afinion(TM) is a new concept in Point of Care - a multiparameter rapid analyser system with minimal user input and sample handling. Afinion(TM) is designed to enable on-the-spot testing, using whole blood, plasma or urine samples, and to deliver accurate results during patient consultation for improved patient management. The analyser and test cartridges have been precision engineered by external organisations according to Axis-Shield designs and specifications, with each test cartridge containing an integrated sample collection device and all necessary reagents for one single analysis. By the end of 2010 the Company expects to have placed 10,000 systems globally.
The NycoCard(R) System is Axis-Shield's most widely distributed product range particularly suited to countries with developing healthcare systems. It represents a versatile, low-cost package designed to deliver reliable testing for certain key markers, in the presence of the patient. The system offers four selected PoC tests: CRP, HbA1c, D-Dimer and U-Albumin. They can all be analysed on the same instrument - the NycoCard Reader II. The Reader is a small portable battery-powered instrument designed for rapid and reliable measurement using NycoCard(R) tests. It consists of two units: the instrument box, which is the operational and calculating unit, and the Reader pen, which detects the signal. Globally there are a large number of installed systems and Axis-Shield estimates over 40,000 units are currently in operation.
---------------------------------  The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group. The effect of intensive treatment of diabetes on the development and progression of long term complications in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med 1993;329:977-86.  International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes Atlas, 4th edition. http://www.eatlas.idf.org  New England Journal of Medicine, Prevalence of Diabetes among Men and Women in China. 362; 12, March 25, 2010 For further enquiries, please contact: Axis-Shield plc Ian Gilham, Chief Executive Officer Ronny Hermansen, Finance Director Tel: +44-203-178-784 M:Communications Mary-Jane Elliott / Emma Thompson / Amber Bielecka Tel: +44-207-920-2330 E-mail: email@example.com Geelmuyden Kiese (Norway) Hakon Ronning Tel: +47-48-18-88-00
|SOURCE Axis-Shield plc|
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