ALK has announced a partnership with China’s Rellergen Biotech Inc., which grants ALK exclusive promotional rights to market Rellergen’s Bio-IC microfluidic allergen diagnosis technology to more than 190 hospitals across China.
Bio-IC microfluidic allergen diagnosis technology is also referred to as a ‘laboratory on a chip’ because it offers fast, convenient and inexpensive diagnosis of specific allergen sensitivities using a blood sample in a disposable cartridge which allows screening against up to 20 different allergens at a time, including food allergies. The Bio-IC system also includes compact screening and analysis apparatus, allowing patients a swift diagnosis of their allergen sensitivities.
Jacob Glenting, Vice President, International Markets, says: “The Bio-IC technology represents an important advance in a market where allergy diagnosis is a DKK 300 million a year business. It also allows ALK to broaden its product offering for allergists, while signaling our ability to identify key products and technologies that advance our strategy of expanding into adjacent business areas.”
ALK has been present in China since 2007 and is the market’s second largest allergy immunotherapy (AIT) company. The market potential in China is considerable given the large number of house dust mite (HDM) allergy sufferers, but access to AIT is currently restricted due to a lack of allergy diagnosis and treatment infrastructure.
Andrew Hui, General Manager, China, says: "This partnership opens new and complementary opportunities for ALK beyond China’s DKK 400 million AIT market. Bio-IC technology offers a major improvement in the allergy diagnosis process for patients in China because existing diagnostic methods either lack accuracy, are prohibitively expensive, or are unsuitable for use in typical clinics, meaning that test samples have to be sent away for screening – a process that can take weeks and drawing revenue away from the allergy clinics themselves."
The technology was originally developed by Taiwan-based Agnitio Biotech Inc., and is being com-mercialised in China by its sister company Rellergen, which is in the process of setting up a local manufacturing facility. Bio-IC was approved as an in vitro device by authorities in China in 2015. Expanding the partnership into other markets is currently being discussed.