On Monday, Millipore Corp. (MIL) announced its collaboration with Roka Bioscience Inc. to develop molecular assays and portable instruments for biopharmaceutical production.
Roka Bioscience is a new, independent company created following the spin-off of the industrial testing business of Gen-Probe Inc. (GPRO). After the spin-off, Gen-Probe transferred its partnership agreements with Millipore and GE Water (a business unit of CT-based General Electric (GE). Roka Bioscience is now engaged in developing real-time molecular tests for biopharmaceutical, food, and water safety testing.
Gen-Probe initially plans to own 19.9% of the new company. Affiliates of three private equity firms, OrbiMed Advisors, TPG Biotechnology and New Enterprise Associates have agreed to provide $37.2 million to complete the development of several industrial-scale molecular assays. Gen-Probe contributed industrial assets that include its closed unit dose assay (CUDA) system, a portable testing instrument that can deliver highly accurate molecular results in roughly an hour.
Millipore and Gen-Probe formed an exclusive partnership in 2005 to develop faster, more reliable and sensitive tests for contaminants commonly found in pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturing processes. In 2008, they introduced the MilliPROBE® system, which is the first solution of its kind and combines Millipore’s leading industry-accepted sample prep methodologies with Gen-Probe’s advanced proven nucleic acid technologies to deliver both speed and sensitivity in one microbial screening tool.
The companies currently have one assay on the market for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and are developing a second assay for Mycoplasma that remains on track to be introduced early in 2010.
Roka Bioscience’s investment into a fully integrated, portable testing instrument will help Millipore accelerate further development of MilliPROBE assays.
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