Celsis International has signed a collaboration with BioVentures to develop a microarray-based microbiological testing system to detect contamination in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other process industries.
The objective of the collaboration is to create products for real-time and accurate detection of contamination in order to save costs and time and prevent the need for product recalls.
Screening for contamination has become an essential part of the manufacturing process as customers increasingly recognise the vital importance of ensuring product quality and consumer safety, according to Celsis, which specialises in rapid microbial detection and analytical services.
The industrial microbiology market is currently valued at about $3 billion and is expected to grow to $4.5 billion by 2008. Rapid testing methods are a key driver of market growth.
Celsis currently offers manufacturers with rapid testing solutions, which provide results in 18 - 24 hours compared to the multiple days associated with traditional methods (including petri dishes). The products developed through this new agreement will benefit customers by significantly reducing the time to results to a few hours or less, while providing more information than permitted by current testing methodologies.
Better and faster information will provide significant economic benefits to customers by reducing manufacturing cycle times and working capital requirements, it said.
Through deploying Celsis' detection technology, customers are also able to manage product quality and avoid costly product failures and recalls.
This new licensing agreement covers BioVentures' patented and patent pending high density microarray technology which could offer improvements in the consistency, reproducibility and cost effectiveness of microarrays.
Additionally, the BioVenture microarray offers improved design flexibility allowing for increased sensitivity and ease of interpretation, said the companies. The joint development plan will also encompass nucleic acid testing and other rapid detection technologies.
Jay LeCoque, chief executive of Celsis, said the rash of product contamination stories hitting the headlines in the drug industry in the last few months - affecting the likes of Chiron, GlaxoSmithKline, Able Laboratories and Andrx - " industry is looking for cost-effective and rapid microbiological testing products."