SB signs up HIV testing kit…

SmithKline Beecham has signed a deal with US diagnostics manufacturer Epitope to market HIV test kit Orasure worldwide.

The deal, first revealed in Marketing Week (January 27), is SB’s first joint venture with an outside diagnostics pharmaceutical company and it signals the company’s intention to enter the home-test kit market.

The product involves the testing of saliva rather than blood, which reduces the risk of infection. SB intends to market the kits directly to consumers, subject to regulatory approval. But the product will involve health professionals, probably at the counselling stage, says managing director of consumer brands, Peter Glynn-Jones.

Other HIV home-test kits in the US involve the use of free phone results which relay either a recorded message that the tests are negative, or a counsellor on the other end of the telephone.

SB’s Glynn-Jones, says the two companies intend to develop other test kits for diseases such as measles.

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