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BARC Announces Long-Term Cooperation In South African Biobanking for HIV Vaccine Trials
Date:5/21/2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- BARC, a global central laboratory today announced a broad biobanking agreement to support HIV vaccine trials currently being performed in South Africa by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

The HVTN vaccine trials are designed to answer scientific questions that will advance knowledge and ultimately lead to a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection. The HVTN is supported through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. HVTN trials in South Africa are conducted in conjunction with the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

Since October last year, BARC has performed peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-isolation services for the HVTN HIV vaccine trials at various locations in South Africa. Under the new agreement, these services are extended to include the biobanking management services for all HVTN-related vaccine projects in South Africa. It is expected that during the next five years, hundreds of thousands of samples will be handled and managed at BARC's facilities in Johannesburg.

For this operation, BARC South Africa will be increasing its capacity and space of its premises in Johannesburg. In addition to its offices there, BARC also has important lab facilities in Durban, Cape Town, and Pretoria.

Julie McElrath, Director of the HVTN laboratory program said, "This agreement with BARC ensures that these clinical trials can be carried out in a cost-effective manner according to the highest quality standards expected by the international AIDS research community."

According to Dr. Peter Cole, the CEO of BARC South Africa, "This agreement provides BARC with the opportunity to make a major contribution towards the development of an HIV vaccine to help prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa. At the same time, this agreement expands BARC's role in South Africa as the key provider of global central lab services for clinical trials."

Rudi Marien, CEO of BARC group said, "This alliance emphasizes the growing strength of BARC in continents other than in the U.S. and Europe. It also confirms that BARC has grown into a highly recognized provider of biobanking services, given its ability to manage millions of patient samples for major international clinical trials."

For more information, please contact

BARC:

BARC South Africa,

Dr. Jessica Trusler, Medical Director

Tel +27 11 358 07 47

BARC USA,

Mr. Scott Keddy, Sr. Director Business Development

Tel: +1 516 719 1052

BARC Europe,

Dr. Guy Dewil, COO

Tel + 329 329 2 327

BARC is an independent global central laboratory, with subsidiaries in USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia, China, as well as a network of laboratories Asia and South America. BARC supports the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in the development and approval of new therapeutic agents by managing the laboratory component of clinical trials. BARC is committed to providing central laboratory services, including biobanking, that meet the highest quality standards, with rapid delivery of laboratory data. Worldwide testing is performed on equivalent instrumentation and integrated into a single global database with identical reference ranges and report.

BARC South Africa Pty., Ltd., established in 1999, is the South African arm of BARC, The local head office is in Johannesburg, with branch offices in Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town. BARC S.A. is a joint venture between BARC and LANCET LABORATORIES the foremost independent clinical pathology laboratory in South Africa. LANCET LABORATORIES brings a wealth of local knowledge to the joint venture, having provided a pathology service to the medical community since 1952. The joint venture allows for provision of LANCET LABORATORIES expertise to BARC S.A.

The HVTN is an international collaboration of scientists and institutions whose goal is to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine by sharing trial results and facilitating parallel, concurrent testing. The HVTN is a unique hybrid that combines the depth and diversity of the academic community and the flexibility of a commercial drug company. Working with industry and government, the HVTN seeks to expedite and coordinate the trial process, advancing vaccine candidates and building a body of knowledge around HIV vaccine trials. The HVTN is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The HVTN comprises more than 25 research institutions worldwide, coordinated from its headquarters at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.


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SOURCE BARC Central Laboratory
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