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07 JUNE, 2005

NucliSens® easyMAG™ – new innovation from bioMérieux for nucleic acid extraction

Marcy l'Etoile - France - June 7th, 2005. A world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, bioMérieux announces the launch of its new automated sample preparation platform for the extraction of nucleic acid in molecular diagnostics assays. The NucliSens easyMAG system is the latest innovation in bioMérieux’s range of molecular diagnostic solutions.

This new platform offers automated extraction of nucleic acids from clinical samples based on the nucleic acid binding property of silica. Developed by bioMérieux research teams, this technology, also called BOOM® technology is reputed in the molecular diagnostics field as the gold standard for nucleic acid extraction. By using magnetic silica particles for enhanced automation and by further optimizing the extraction reagents, an even higher quality of extracts can be obtained from a wide variety of sample types. The NucliSens easyMAG system offers high-throughput automated nucleic acid extraction with minimum hands-on time and a fast turnaround time, allowing up to 240 extractions in an 8-hour shift.

“Through its proprietary technologies BOOM and NASBA®, bioMérieux’s ambition is to become a major player in the field of molecular biology, the technology of the future for the in vitro diagnostics industry and the essential complement to traditional techniques”, states Benoît Adelus, Executive Vice President of bioMérieux. “With the launching of NucliSens easyMAG, we significantly reinforce our position in molecular biology by addressing our customers’ needs with a fully automated platform for RNA and DNA extraction” adds Dr Christophe Mérieux, R&D and Medical Affairs Senior Executive Vice President.

The NucliSens easyMAG system is marked as a CE-IVD product in the European Union, and as a 510(K) Class 1 exempt IVD product in the US. The platform will be progressively commercialized on a worldwide basis, starting with the United States, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa, for stand-alone purposes.

Extraction of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) in the clinical sample is an important step prior to molecular amplification and detection of the target nucleic acid present using a molecular diagnostics testing platform which performs the latter two steps simultaneously, such as bioMérieux’s NucliSens EasyQ®.

The high quality extraction performance obtained with magnetic silica is already confirmed by the CE-IVD marked NucliSens® miniMAG® system, the manual configuration of magnetic silica extraction. Like the NucliSens miniMAG system, the NucliSens easyMAG platform is capable of extracting both RNA and DNA from a broad variety of sample types, such as plasma, serum, whole blood, stool, sputum and cerebro-spinal fluid. The NucliSens® easyMAG™ platform also offers the added advantage of automation and enhanced extraction flexibility through the use of a standardized, generic protocol. Together, the NucliSens easyMAG™ and NucliSens miniMAG systems provide a complete magnetic extraction offer.

In the molecular diagnostics field, bioMérieux also provides real-time amplification and detection solutions through the NucliSens EasyQ® platform, which offers HIV-1 viral load, Enterovirus and RSV molecular diagnostics assays. bioMérieux currently dedicates major resources to expand the menu of assays performed with NucliSens EasyQ. Furthermore, the company is also pursuing the development of the GeneXpert and Affymetrix platforms.

The company will continue to develop a comprehensive range of next generation molecular diagnostic solutions, based on proprietary BOOM® technology, NASBA® gene amplification and real-time detection.

About bioMérieux

bioMérieux is a leading international diagnostics group that specialises in the field of in vitro diagnostics for clinical and industrial applications. bioMérieux designs, develops, manufactures and markets systems (i.e. reagents, instruments and software) used in:

Clinical applications: the diagnosis of infectious diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis and respiratory illnesses, as well as pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, based on the analysis of biological samples (such as blood, saliva or urine); and

Industrial applications: the microbiological analysis of food, environments (such as water and air), surfaces and pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, based on the analysis of product or environmental samples.

In 2004, bioMérieux sales reached 931 million euros. The company is present in more than 130 countries through 33 subsidiaries and a large network of distributors, which positions the company well to benefit from the growth potential of the in vitro diagnostics market. Some important drivers that underpin this growth are aging populations and age-related illness, illnesses related to life-style and eating habits, emerging new pathogens, the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the fight against bio-terrorism, the recognition of the importance of the quality of food products.

bioMérieux is listed on the Eurolist of Euronext, Paris (FR0010096479 – BIM).