MedMira Partner Vitest Signs Exclusive Agreement with Red Cross Nigeria to Provide 2 Million Rapid HIV Tests
HALIFAX, June 14 /CNW/ - MedMira Inc., ("MedMira") (TSX Venture: MIR, NASDAQ: MMIRF), a developer of rapid diagnostic technology and solutions, today announced that the Company's strategic business development partner for Africa, Vitest AG, has signed an exclusive agreement with the Nigerian Red Cross Society to provide two million MedMira rapid HIV tests under private label. This two million test order is the first part of a broader, long term partnership between Vitest and the Red Cross to enhance public awareness of HIV and testing programs within Nigeria.
"Our exclusive contract with the Red Cross is a milestone in our efforts to create long term partnerships in Africa. The Red Cross in Nigeria has been conducting a rigorous evaluation of the quality, ease of use, and technical support associated with the product over the last six months. The results have been excellent and together with the other successful studies recently completed in South Africa, Congo, and Kenya we were able to provide clinical and field results that have proven that this test is most suitable for the African market," said Markus M. Meile, CEO, Vitest AG. "The process of establishing and proving the capabilities of this product in Africa seemed lengthy, however it is a challenging environment with an elevated level of scepticism due to past issues with inferior quality rapid tests failing to meet the needs and standards of the African market, which are now quite high."
Vitest was approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to sell MedMira rapid HIV tests under a private label brand in Nigeria in 2009. Vitest plans to introduce other rapid diagnostics from MedMira, including multiple tests for HIV in combination with other infectious diseases such as syphilis and tuberculosis, to the Nigerian market in the near future.
"Vitest is making remarkable progress in Africa and in particular Nigeria. Together we are building a solid market presence in Africa by establishing key relationships with top tier humanitarian organizations such as the Nigerian Red Cross Society. Working with these organizations brings us credibility in the market place as well as sustainable long term revenue channels," said Hermes Chan, CEO, MedMira Inc. "The level of activity in Africa is increasing as more and more large scale awareness and testing programs get underway. MedMira looks forward to playing a key role in Nigeria and other countries where focused efforts are coming together to combat the HIV epidemic."
Working in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Nigerian Red Cross Society is headquartered in Lagos with local branches in every state and over 350,000 volunteers. Africa, one of the hardest hit regions of the world in terms of HIV prevalence, is massively scaling up its rapid testing programs in many regions. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with an estimated 135 million inhabitants and according to UNAIDS there are 2.6 million people living with HIV in Nigeria, 220,000 being children. In a recent report from UNAIDS, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO), Children and AIDS: The Fourth Stocktaking Report, 2009, it was reported that Nigeria was home to 15 per cent of the world's pregnant women living with HIV and that currently 90% of these women are not accessing treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
Due to the competitive landscape of the African market, MedMira will not be disclosing product pricing and contract details at this time.
About Vitest AG
Vitest AG is a privately held company based in Wollerau, Switzerland with a corporate subsidiary in Germany (Vitest GmbH) and South Africa (Vitest Southern Africa Ply). Vitest is the manufacturer/distributor of medical rapid tests and known well for their high quality products. The company provides doctors offices, clinics, private companies, NGOs and government institutions with innovative rapid tests. With the introduction of the MedMira product range to the African and European markets, Vitest takes the lead in the latest disease prevention movement to reduce the number of new infections in the developed and the developing world, by making better diagnostics more widely available.
For more information about Vitest, please visit www.vitest-ag.eu.
About MedMira Inc.
MedMira is a leading developer and manufacturer of flow-through rapid diagnostics. The company's tests provide hospitals, labs, clinics and individuals with reliable, rapid diagnosis for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C in just three minutes. The company's tests are sold under the Reveal(R), Multiplo(TM) and Miriad brands in global markets. MedMira's rapid HIV test is the only one in the world to achieve regulatory approvals in Canada, the United States, China and the European Union. MedMira's corporate offices and manufacturing facilities are located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For more information visit MedMira's website at www.medmira.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements, which involve risk and uncertainties and reflect the company's current expectation regarding future events. Actual events could materially differ from those projected herein and depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, changing market conditions, successful and timely completion of clinical studies, uncertainties related to the regulatory approval process, establishment of corporate alliances and other risks detailed from time to time in the company quarterly filings.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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