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Qiagen Inks TB Test Automation Deal With Hamilton; Wins Tender From UN Migration Agency

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Qiagen said on Monday that it will collaborate with Hamilton Robotics to improve processing of Qiagen's QuantiFeron-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) diagnostic test.

Separately, Qiagen said that QFT-Plus has been adopted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations migration agency, to screen migrants for the infection.

Under the terms of Qiagen's agreement with Hamilton, the two companies will integrate Hamilton's Microlab Star automated liquid-handling workstation into the QFT-Plus workflow.

QFT-Plus is offered in a single-tube format that enables efficient screening in large-scale programs by collecting blood samples at patient sites and transporting them to labs for processing up to 53 hours after venipuncture. The Microlab Star workstation will standardize and automate the manual steps in liquid handling for those samples, which can reduce hands-on time by at least 50 percent and reduce processing errors and variability between runs, Qiagen said.

The companies plan to make the Microlab Star workstation available to QFT-Plus customers in August for customers in North America and Japan, with potential expansion to other geographies in the future.

Qiagen noted that the collaboration complements its partnership with DiaSorin to add QFT-Plus to the menu of DiaSorin's Liaison family of fully automated analyzers. DiaSorin and Qiagen plan to launch a CE-marked version of new QuantiFeron readout components for use on the Liaison XL in the third quarter of 2018, with US availability in 2019 and commercialization in China in 2020.

Meanwhile, the IOM — which coordinates healthcare for about 20 million migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers worldwide — will implement QFT-Plus in 16 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East facing public health challenges from TB.

"We are pleased that the IOM … has selected QuantiFeron-TB Gold Plus as the only blood test to be used in latent TB screening of displaced persons it serves," Thierry Bernard, Qiagen's senior vice president for molecular diagnostics, said in a statement. "Migrants suffer disproportionately from tuberculosis, and accurate detection is critical to halting the global epidemic of this ancient disease."

Qiagen did not disclose financial terms for either deal.