Press Release
British Biocell International and Focus Diagnostics Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement For New HSV-2 Point-Of-Care Product

Hendon, Virginia (USA) and Cardiff, Wales (UK), April 14, 2005. Today, British Biocell International (BBI) Holdings PLC and Focus Diagnostics, Inc. announced an agreement for the distribution of BBI’s new type-specific point-of-care product for Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2. Under the terms of the agreement Focus Diagnostics gains exclusive distribution rights for the product in the United States and Europe. The new product uses a unique two-step process that provides a visual result in less than 10 minutes based on patented lateral flow technology from BBI. Once it receives the necessary regulatory approvals, Focus Diagnostics will market the product as part of its HerpeSelect® brand of HSV type-specific products, which are currently the worldwide market leaders. BBI will remain the exclusive manufacturer of the product for the term of the contract.

“We see significant potential for our technology in the HSV point-of-care market and this agreement with Focus Diagnostics aligns us with the most established provider of type-specific HSV products in the world”, comments Julian Baines, Managing Director of BBI. “This new product builds on our existing commitment to both the point-of-care and herpes testing markets, which we aim to dominate through our collaborative partners.”


It is estimated that over 60 million adults in the U.S. are infected with HSV-2 and, because HSV is poorly recognized and infrequently diagnosed, up to 90% do not know they have it. The availability of type-specific serological methods has helped to ignite efforts to drive awareness of HSV and to help stop the spread of disease - now estimated at over 1 million new HSV-2 cases a year in the US alone. Recent clinical data published in leading scientific journals indicates a link between HSV-2 infection and a greater chance of acquiring HIV infection, therefore establishing the need to identify individuals infected with HSV-2.

Focus Diagnostics has been the leading provider of type-specific HSV diagnostic products since 2000. “This agreement allows us to expand our HerpeSelect® diagnostic product portfolio to include a product that will allow for the rapid detection of HSV-2 during a patient visit,” said Charles C. Harwood, Jr., CEO of Focus Diagnostics. “Our goal is to provide a broad menu of diagnostic products that allow for an ever-increasing number of healthcare providers and laboratories to test for genital herpes.”