Wilex looks to China with breast cancer diagnostic

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In an effort to tap a valuable market, Germany's struggling Wilex has forged an exclusive agreement with GeneDiagnostics to market Wilex's serum HER-2/neu ELISA breast cancer biomarker test in China.

Wilex, which slashed 25% of its work force late last year, currently offers the test in both the U.S. and European markets--but the company's U.S. subsidiary will tie the knot with GeneDiagnostics to take advantage of that company's strong foothold in the Chinese market. The deal comes with the provision that GeneDiagnostics will perform clinical studies of the diagnostic test to get clearance from the Chinese authorities.

"The Chinese market is expected to be one of the fastest-growing pharma markets in the world," said Wilex CEO Olaf G. Wilhelm in a statement. "We are pleased to have in GeneDiagnostics a competent partner to pursue an IVD approval for our serum … as well as to distribute the test in this key market."

Mark Han, president and chief scientist of GeneDiagnostics, stated that there are 126,000 new cases of breast cancer reported in China each year, about one-tenth of the world's total.

The biomarker helps to monitor HER-2, or Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2, which is found on breast cancer cells, and patients who have high levels of the protein tend to have more aggressive forms of the disease. Neither company released financial terms of the agreement. Wilex was unavailable for comment as of Wednesday morning.

- here's the press release

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