Cancer kit sales tipped to rise

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2011

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Pacific Edge Biotechnology says sales of its diagnostic test kits for the detection of bladder cancer should ramp up significantly later in the year given a new agreement with a leading Australian health care provider to market the product.

The agreement with Melbourne-based Healthscope means that the Pacific Edge diagnostic bladder cancer tests will be available for Australians, particularly those that show blood in their urine, as well to New Zealanders.

Shares in Pacific Edge yesterday edged up 0.5 of a cent or 2.56 per cent to 20 cents, after the agreement was announced through the NZX.

Under the terms, Healthscope Pathology will market and offer laboratory services to urologists and general practitioners for the detection of bladder cancer using Pacific Edge's non-invasive Cxbladder test in Australia.

Analytical machines owned by Healthscope would be used to provide some of the laboratory services, but the analytics would then be forwarded to Pacific Edge's Dunedin-based operations including a diagnostic laboratory to compile final results.

"It's actually fantastic for this company. It's a very big validation particularly for us as a company and a technology and it will be the start of our revenue stream, (though) we've sold some test kits in New Zealand already to healthcare professionals," Pacific Edge chief executive David Darling said.

"We're just starting really, we're just priming the pump."

Revenue streams from Australia would be some months away, he added.

Pacific Edge would also provide services to New Zealand urologists and GPs through its subsidiary Pacific Edge Diagnostics NZ.

Darling said Healthscope would send initial laboratory-based tests of urine samples to Dunedin for further analytical work.

Pacific Edge had also been working with district health boards, including Canterbury and Counties-Manukau, to introduce the test kits to urologists and GPs.

Inside the kit was a dedicated courier bag to send the urine sample back to its Dunedin laboratory, where results were generated and sent back to the respective GP.

Healthscope was a major company which provided about 60 per cent of the diagnostic services in New Zealand as well. It owned LabPLUS and Southern Community Laboratories.

It operated in every Australian state and territory, and in Asia, as well as New Zealand, where it had pathology business sites including in Christchurch.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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