Limerick biotech firm GenCell in US$12m deal with Brazilian govt

6 Feb 2014

Dr Kieran Curran, founder and CEO of GenCell Biosystems (right), with Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

A Limerick biotech company called GenCell Biosystems has signed a deal with the government of Brazil to deploy a new clinical screening system that will benefit more than 150m Brazilians.

GenCell Biosystems has signed an agreement with the Fiocruz Public Health Foundation and the Institute of Molecular Biology of Paraná (IBMP) in Brazil to partner in the development of new clinical screening systems to address Brazilian Ministry of Health needs.

The systems will use GenCell’s patented genetic analysis technologies and perform IVD diagnostics across a range of applications.  

“This is an exciting partnership with potentially far-reaching benefits for healthcare in Brazil,” Kieran Curran, founder and CEO of GenCell Biosystems said.

“Our technology has a unique advantage in its capacity to generate high quality diagnostic information, more quickly and at less cost. We are delighted to work with IBMP and Fiocruz, who are recognised as the most prominent science and technology health institutions in Latin America. We look forward to using our technology to significantly contribute to healthcare in Brazil.”

GenCell will work with IBMP,  Bio-Manguinhos Technology Institute of Immunobiology and Fiocruz to develop clinical standard diagnostic systems in a two-year development programme to diagnose infectious diseases in the Brazilian national public health system. The initial phase of the programme is valued in excess of USD$12m [to be funded by both parties]. Over the longer term, the programme is expected to lead to significant follow-on sales for GenCell in Brazil.

True blood

GenCell makes genetic analysis systems. Its technology will ultimately be used in the Brazilian public health system to identify pathogens or viruses in various samples from patients, for example, in the area of blood screening in blood transfusion services, and other diagnostic processes.

GenCell’s Composite Liquid Cell (CLC) technology will be at the heart of a new instrument platform. GenCell technology will be used to screen for several different types of pathogens in a range of sample types, augmenting current health programmes that depend on many different IVD (in-vitro diagnostic) platforms. 

GenCell has patented a breakthrough genetic analysis technology that addresses key diagnostic challenges, including detection sensitivity, throughput and cost.

“The national health system of Brazil serves over 150m users,” said Dr Mario Moreira, director, Molecular Biology Institute of Paraná. 

“There are several public health programmes that depend on reliable IVD platforms to detect and diagnose infectious, as well as chronic-degenerative, diseases. Thus, the provision of state-of-the-art IVD platforms is an essential element of public healthcare. Safety is of paramount importance and this is underpinned by the adoption of ever more sensitive technology throughout our existing IVD infrastructure. We are seeking to even further enhance safeguards, and this is the ambition of our partnership in using GenCell’s technology.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years