Covid-19 test kit maker Seegene to diversify its IVD portfolio into cancer

2021.04.09 12:35:18 | 2021.04.09 12:35:54

[Photo provided by Seegene Inc.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Seegene Inc.]

Seegene Inc., a pioneering in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) company in Korea, will diversify its IVD portfolio to make rapid test kits to detect not only infectious and respiratory diseases but also certain types of cancer and inherited diseases, according to the company’s R&D head.

During an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper on Thursday, Seegene’s chief technology officer Lee Min-cheol shared the company’s technology vision, saying that diagnostic kits for infectious diseases have received great attention around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic and there will be a growing demand for diagnosis of many other diseases beyond infections.

Seegene already has 150 different molecular diagnostic reagents needed to detect agents of many communicable diseases including Covid-19, human papillomavirus (HPV), gastrointestinal infection (GI), and sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Its future IVD portfolio will include inherited diseases, and cancer in addition to infectious and respiratory diseases, Lee said.

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Lee, who served as the head of Chonnam University School of Medicine and the Korean Society of Pathologists, has been responsible for Seegene’s research and development projects since August last year.

Lee highlighted the company’s differentiated detection technology that can identify coronavirus mutants and the origins of virus variants (UK, South Africa, Brazil and Nigeria) in a single test, allowing health authorities to better trace them and care for patients.

Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2 Master Assay, one of the company’s new products, is a multiplex real time PCR assay that full screens for five notable S gene mutations in one signal, with four target genes of coronavirus all in one tube.

Another new product Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2 Variants Ⅰ Assay enables simultaneous detection and differentiation of the virus and three mutation sites in S gene for identification of variants within two hours. Precise and fast identification of coronavirus variants is key to more effective medical intervention with vaccination, Lee explained.

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Seegene’s two test kits for Covid-19 variants were approved for CE Mark in Europe last month and are due to be launched across Europe within the first half of this year.

Seegene’s quick access to markets with upgraded products is attributed to its In Silico system that analyzes human infectious pathogens with artificial intelligence (AI)-based gene big data.

Backed by upbeat sales in equipment needed for molecular diagnostics, Seegene sold about 1,600 units last year alone, which are equivalent to those sold ever since its foundation in 2000 to 2019. In the last three months of last year, Seegene installed some 700 equipment around the world.

The company posted 223.6 billion won ($200 million) in consolidated revenue in the first two months of this year, an eight-fold increase from a year ago, and the sales figure for full 2021 will also be positive despite a massive roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines, Lee projected.

By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]