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Clever Culture Systems, Thermo Fisher Scientific Agree to Distribution for Culture Screening System

NEW YORK – Microbiology laboratory automation firm Clever Culture Systems said on Tuesday that it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement for its APAS Independence automated culture screening and interpretation system in the US with Remel, a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Financial terms of the five-year agreement were not disclosed.

Clever Culture received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for the APAS Independence instrument and associated urine analysis module in May 2019. The platform uses imaging technology and artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically read, interpret, and sort plates, and it can identify plates with no significant growth, those with significant growth, and those needing further review by a microbiologist, the firm said. APAS, short for Automated Plate Assessment System, can process more than 200 culture plates at a time.

This agreement will provide a footprint to scale sales and commercial activities in the US, Clever Culture said. The APAS Independence will be added to Thermo Fisher's existing portfolio of microbiology products in the country. The company will engage in sales and marketing and related activities for the system, and will also provide installation, maintenance, and support services to customers in the US.

"We see a clear fit for the APAS Independence within our portfolio of microbiology products for the US clinical market," Christophe Fraudeau, president of microbiology at Thermo Fisher, said in a statement. "Our customers need smart automation products that deliver real workflow efficiencies, and the APAS Independence does just that by using artificial intelligence to provide active decision-making that reduces workload and enables laboratories to streamline their workflows."