Ilex signs South Africa newborn AIDS tests deal

The contract can be worth as much as NIS 180 million.

Ilex Medical Ltd. (TASE:ILX) continues to expand its business in South Africa. Subsidiary Ilex South Africa Ltd. has signed an agreement with the country's National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) to carry out blood tests to diagnose AIDS in the newborn children of infected mothers.

A previous clinical trial using a small blood smear by Ilex a year was a success, showing substantial improvement in accuracy and automation compared with the current test.

Ilex estimates that 300,000 tests will be carried out in the first year at a value of NIS 20 million, with the potential to more than double the number of tests to 700,000 a year from the second year. Ilex will supply the NHLS with the test device and software and will charge NHLS for the reagents for the tests. The company believes that work will begin in the second quarter of 2010, and that the deal will be for five years, the usual period in the industry. On this basis, the deal could be worth up to NIS 180 million.

Ilex wants the tests to be conducted at a single central location at Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg.

Ilex added that success of the program could lead to other project in South Africa. Ilex South Africa has received inquiries from other agencies and NGOs, including Medicins San Frontiers, which are interested in applying the company's blood test in other African countries and conducting the tests in South Africa.

The agreement with the NHLS follows Ilex's long-term agreement with South Africa's central blood bank and other contracts.

Ilex's share price rose 6.5% in morning trading today to NIS 40.80, giving a market cap of almost NIS400 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 11, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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