Health Canada Approves Most Comprehensive System to Test Donated Blood for
HIV, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C

LAVAL, QC, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Canada has approved a new nucleic acid test from Roche Diagnostics to screen donated blood for HIV-1 Group M RNA, hepatitis C RNA and hepatitis B DNA in a single, automated assay. The test, called the cobas TaqScreen MPX Test for use on the cobas s 201 system, is a qualitative in vitro test for comprehensive single-assay detection of HIV-1 Group M RNA, HIV-1 Group O RNA, HIV-2 RNA, hepatitis C Virus RNA and hepatitis B Virus DNA in human plasma. The test, which is not intended for use as an aid in diagnosis, is designed to further increase the safety of blood supplies by identifying infections earlier than traditional serology tests.

"Roche is committed to meeting the needs of blood centers with tests and systems that ensure the highest blood safety," said Christopher Parker, President and General Manager of Roche Diagnostics in Canada. "Our multiplex test has been widely adopted and has demonstrated excellent performance in blood centers worldwide. We are pleased to introduce it in Canada as part of our continued investment in solutions for our critically important blood operators."

The test runs on the fully automated, real-time PCR cobas s 201 system, designed to increase processing efficiency with a unique modular design and ready to use reagents.

"By implementing this new technology, Héma-Québec will optimize its operation procedures to provide safe blood components in an efficient manner to meet the needs of Quebec residents," said Dr Francine Décary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.

"The Roche MPX test raises the blood industry to a higher level with regards to overall blood safety, process simplification and process control," said Dr Graham D. Sher, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Blood Services. "Our organization looks forward to using the MPX test."

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients.

In 2008, Roche had over 80,000 employees worldwide and invested almost 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.6 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are legally protected by law.

SOURCE Roche Diagnostics

For further information: For further information: Mélanie Lussier, Communications, (450) 686-3137, melanie.lussier@roche.com

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