Orgenics part of Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative

Israel's Orgenics, the US's Chembio, India's Qualpro Diagnostics and China's Shanghai Kehua will offer rapid tests for $0.49-$0.65 per test.

Former US President Bill Clinton today announced that his foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) has negotiated new pricing agreements to lower the prices of HIV diagnosis and two anti-retrovirals (ARVs).

Four companies - Chembio Diagnostics of the US, Orgenics of Israel (a subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations (AMEX: IMA)), Qualpro Diagnostics of India, (in partnership with Core Diagnostics), and Shanghai Kehua of China - will offer rapid tests for $0.49-$0.65 per test.

As a result of their agreements with the Clinton Foundation, countries will be able to reduce the cost of HIV diagnosis by 50%.

Cipla (India), Ranbaxy (India), Strides Arcolab (India) and Aspen Pharmacare (South Africa) - relying on supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients from Matrix Laboratories (India) - will offer the ARV efavirenz for $240 per patient per year, and Cipla will offer the ARV abacavir for $447. These prices represent savings of more than 30% from current market rates.

Speaking in Harlem today, Clinton said, “Lowering the price of second-line drugs is a major priority for my foundation in 2006. Treatment, once started, is a lifelong commitment, and over time patients move from low-price first-line drugs to second-line combinations that are at least 10 times more expensive. Keeping the global cost of AIDS treatment sustainable will only be possible if we lower the prices of these medicines."

The products and prices announced today will be available to the Clinton Foundation’s procurement consortium, which currently includes 50 developing countries around the world.

The rapid tests included in today’s deals have been evaluated by World Health Organization (WHO) and deemed to meet minimum sensitivity and specificity criteria. The ARVs included in the agreements are being submitted to WHO and/or the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Orgenics Diagnostics of Yavne is a subsidiary of Waltham, Massachusetts-based Inverness Medical Innovations. Orgenics has been active in the HIV diagnostic test industry since 1982, and aims to develop reliable and easy to use diagnostics test kits for infectious disease. Orgenics recently obtained the WHO accreditation for its HIV diagnostic test DoubleCheckGold HIV. Accreditation of the product was a prerequisite of selection by the Clinton Foundation. Orgenics also supplies several humanitarian organizations, including WHO and UNICEF.

Inverness Medical Innovations is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional medical diagnostic products and developer of advanced medical devices.

Inverness CEO Ron Zwanziger said, "We are proud to join the Clinton Foundation in its efforts to bring affordable HIV diagnostic testing to resource-poor countries. Orgenics' selection by the Clinton Foundation, along with our recent acquisition from Abbott Laboratories of the popular Determine line of HIV products, confirm our position as a leader in HIV rapid diagnostics."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on Thursday, January 12, 2006

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