Firms say assay is due for commercial launch in 2012.

Diagnostics firm Alere negotiated a worldwide license to market VitaPath Genetics’ spina bifida risk assessment assay, which the latter says it aims to commercially launch in 2012. The genetic test is designed to identify women of childbearing age who are at greatest risk of having a baby with spina bifida, which can be prevented by high doses of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy.

The spina bifida test is VitaPath’s lead pipeline candidate. Under terms of the deal Alere and VitaPath may develop additional product line extensions, focused primarily on the fetal health field. “This partnership validates and supports further development of our proprietary technology platform, which links biologically functional genetic mutations to serious disorders that can be prevented or remediated with safe and effective vitamin-based therapies,” remarks Bruce Cohen, president and CEO at VitaPath. “Alere brings an unparalleled global platform to support the successful launch of the spina bifida assay and potential future products that prevent birth defects.”

Alere specializes in the development of near-patient diagnostics and monitoring technologies and products, spanning cardiology, women’s health, infectious disease, oncology, and drugs of abuse.

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