Meridian Bioscience (NSDQ:VIVO) applied for federal regulatory approval of a next-generation molecular test that detects a type of bacteria that causes damage to the digestive system.
Meridian’s Illumigene test is designed to find traces of C. difficile, a bacteria that can cause life-threatening inflammation of the colon and most often affects elderly people after they’ve used antibiotic medications, according to a press release.
Meridian’s application to the Food & Drug Administration is a milestone for the company, because the test is its first built on a new technology platform. The Illumigene test is performed at the molecular level and allows for detection of bacteria without using expensive equipment. It is capable of detecting a single bacterium in a tiny sample.
Meridian already has a test for C. difficile on the market, but sales have begun to stagnate due to increasing competition. The Illumigene test is superior to the existing test because it’s faster, cheaper and can be performed on a smaller sample.
Meridian CEO Jack Kraeutler estimates that the Illumigene test could bring the company $10 million to $20 million in annual sales. The test kit works by amplifying DNA samples via technology licensed from Eiken Chemical Co. of Japan. The company began clinical trials of the test kit in January.
The Illumigene test is performed on a stool sample and can be completed in less than an hour, according to Meridian.
Last week, Meridian cut its earning outlook for the year, saying that sales of test kits for upper-respiratory infections had collapsed because of the abrupt end of the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic in early December.