STMicroelectronics and Veredus Laboratories Launch Market’s First Lab-on-Chip for Rapid Molecular Flu Detection at Point of Need
Geneva and Singapore, March 2008 - Following the success of the evaluation trials conducted at the prestigious National University Hospital of Singapore, Veredus Laboratories and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) today announced the commercial availability of VereFlu™, a portable lab-on-chip application for rapid detection of all major influenza types at the point of need. Unlike existing diagnostic methods, VereFlu is a breakthrough molecular diagnostic test that can detect infection with high accuracy and sensitivity, within two hours providing genetic information of the infection that traditionally would take days to weeks to learn. With its high level of automation, users outside the traditional lab environment can easily perform the tests at the point of need.
Combining STMicroelectronics’ In-Check™ lab-on-chip platform with Veredus’ bio-application capability, VereFlu is the market’s first test which has integrated two powerful molecular biological applications in a lab-on-chip the size of a fingernail. It can identify and differentiate human strains of Influenza A and B viruses, including the Avian Flu strain H5N1, in a single test.
“We are pleased to report that our evaluation trials show the suitability of the VereFlu diagnostic application for field testing and deployment,” said Associate Professor Raymond Lin, Head of Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, National University Hospital in Singapore. “The diagnostic reliability of this novel device makes it a powerful weapon against future influenza pandemics.”
“VereFlu will enable healthcare professionals to effectively monitor mutations of flu viruses and quickly identify the main strain of the season,” said Dr Rosemary Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Veredus Laboratories. “This unique capability can significantly increase the effectiveness of flu vaccination and reduce public health risks associated with the emergence of a new flu virus.”
“The launch of VereFlu marks a substantial breakthrough in enabling rapid identification of the infectious agent to limit the spread of the disease and speed patients’ treatment,” said Gian Luca Bertino, Corporate VP and General Manager of ST’s Computer Peripherals Group. “The combination of Veredus’ diagnostic know-how with ST’s microfluidic lab-on-chip technology has bred the market’s first solution that detects multiple flu viruses at the point of need in a fraction of the time, cost, and complexity of conventional diagnostic systems.”
A miniature laboratory on a chip, ST’s In-Check platform allows users to accurately and reliably process and analyze minute patient samples – human blood, serum or respiratory swabs - on a single disposable thumbnail-sized chip. This approach reduces the time and complexity, as well as the risk of cross-contamination inherent in conventional analysis methods.
Encouraged by the success of the VereFlu project, STMicroelectronics and Veredus Laboratories have set up a joint lab, where experts from both companies will work together on the development of new biomedical applications based on ST’s In-Check lab-on-chip platform. Future application areas of interest include other infectious diseases, oncology and heart-disease markers. The new ST/Veredus biomedical laboratory, called the Bio-Application Lab, is located at the Science Park in Singapore and will be managed by Dr Rosemary Tan, CEO of Veredus.
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