QIAGEN and Abbott have entered into an agreement that significantly strengthens both companies’ testing menus for automated in vitro diagnostic applications in the United States and Canada.

Under the terms of the agreements, QIAGEN will receive kits for a PCR-based molecular assay for HIV-1 viral load testing in the US and Canada, which will be commercialized under QIAGEN’s brand. This test will enable healthcare professionals to measure the viral load of HIV infections in patients. It is expected that the new HIV-1 test will be available by 2012, thereby adding to QIAGEN’s pipeline of US regulatory submissions, which is expected to also include a quantitative HBV (Hepatitis B) test. In addition, Abbott will provide a quantitative HCV (Hepatitis C) test, which will be optimized and labeled for use on QIAGEN’s QIAsymphony RGQ instrument and marketed under the Abbott brand in the US and Canada. Subject to regulatory approval, this test may be available by the end of 2012.

QIAGEN will supply Abbott with certain key products required for a PCR-based HPV (human papillomavirus) test in the US and Canada. This test will run on Abbott’s m2000 lab automation system, which features throughput up to 96 samples per run. QIAGEN itself will continue to address the HPV screening market with its prevention platform QIAensemble, which is designed to process up to 2,000 samples per shift. Technologies that are the basis of QIAGEN’s current and next-generation HPV screening assays are not subject to the transaction.

QIAGEN and Abbott believe that these agreements significantly strengthen the value of their respective automation platforms and will reinforce their leadership in infectious disease testing. QIAGEN’s QIAsymphony RGQ system was launched last month with a broad portfolio of assays, including HIV, HBV, and HCV tests, and is registered for clinical use in European markets.

Sources: QIAGEN and Abbott