Grifols, a global healthcare company and biopharmaceutical manufacturer based in Barcelona, Spain, has entered into a long-term cooperative agreement with the diagnostics business of Novartis for commercialization of select Grifols' diagnostic products in the U.S.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will market and distribute Grifols' immunohematology instruments, assays and other products following U.S. regulatory approvals. The agreement also covers semi-automated pretransfusion diagnostic products made by Grifols subsidiaries as well as Progenika blood group antigen genotyping products currently distributed by Grifols.
"Grifols' 70-year history of advancing blood diagnostics complements the Novartis leadership in blood safety and ongoing mission to advance preventive screening," says Oriol Duñach, head of Diagnostic Grifols. "Our commercialization agreement with Novartis will serve to enhance transfusion safety throughout the U.S. by providing laboratories with the latest technologies and highest quality services."
Novartis Diagnostics' highly sensitive tests and fully automated nucleic acid testing platforms, developed in partnership with Gen-Probe, are used to test millions of blood donations around the world each year for HIV, hepatitis and West Nile Virus. The commercialization agreement with Grifols will add immunohematology instruments to the portfolio of products Novartis Diagnostics can make available to blood banks and hospital transfusion centers.
This agreement leverages an earlier Grifols' distribution agreement with Spanish biotechnology company Progenika Biopharma for its microchip blood typing technology BLOODCHIP®. Although the use of molecular biology tests in transfusion compatibility testing is still at its early stages, its use is expected to become more widespread as a result of hemovigilance and transfusion safety plans being introduced in many countries.
The agreement comes on the heels of the completion of a new Medion Grifols production facility in Switzerland that makes reagents for the rapid identification of blood groups. It also follows a threefold production capacity increase for Grifols' immunohematology gel cards in 2009 at its Barcelona facility.