Ortho Diagnostic targets blood banks and hospitals with new hepatitis-C test – Ortho Diagnostic Systems Inc

Ortho Diagnostic Systems, Inc., Raritan, N.J., a Johnson & Johnson Co., is targeting laboratory technicians at blood banks and hospital laboratories to purchase the company’s new RIBA |TM~ HCV 2.0 Strip Immunoblot Assay, which tests blood for the hepatitis-C Virus (HCV).

The U.S. release for the test was in June. Ciron Corp., Emeryville, Calif., developed the test, now manufactured and distributed by Ortho Diagnostic.

Between 0.5% and 1% of the U.S. population contact HCV annually. The U.S. market for such a test is estimated to be $6.25 million or one-fourth of the estimated $25 million worldwide market. Chiron predicts worldwide sales will increase to $40 to $50 million in the next few years.

Chiron predicts the U.S. market will surpass $25 million within two years. The worldwide market for the product is predicted to grow because HCV screening has not reduced case number since screening became available three years ago.

Blood bank labs are primary users of the test and are the main target for Ortho’s marketing. Hospital laboratories are the secondary market for the product. Ortho Diagnostic will promote the product at trade shows such as the American Assn. for Clinical Chemistry in July in New York, and the Annual American Assn. of Blood Banks. Ortho Diagnostic’s direct sales force of 15 reps will sell the product.

The RIBA test also will be advertised in trade journals which are yet to be determined. Ortho Diagnostic has held 10 educational seminars a year for the past two years to educate users and potential test buyers about HCV. Tests are available for purchase at the seminars, although Ortho Diagnostic’s sales reps are not present.

The RIBA test has been used for the past two years in the European market. Ortho Diagnostic sold more than 500,000 kits worldwide during the last two years. The list price for RIBA is over $100.

The RIBA test is used to confirm that a blood sample is truly positive once traditional blood screenings determine that HCV may be present. RIBA is a supplemental test and is not designed to be sued routinely.

COPYRIGHT 1993 J.B. Lippincott Company

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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