GE, Gen-Probe ally to develop next generation of biological testing for water industry

GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies and Gen-Probe will work together on an exclusive basis to develop, manufacture and commercialize nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies that are designed to detect the unique genetic sequences of microorganisms in selected water applications...

TREVOSE, PA, & SAN DIEGO, July 18, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies and Gen-Probe will work together on an exclusive basis to develop, manufacture and commercialize nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies that are designed to detect the unique genetic sequences of microorganisms in selected water applications.

"In today's day and age, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our water resources," said George Oliver, president and chief executive officer of GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies. "The GE-Gen-Probe alliance will explore pioneering technologies that will help prevent the spread of illness and disease throughout the world."

Hank Nordhoff, Gen-Probe's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "This agreement represents a significant milestone in our strategy to enter attractive new growth markets with proprietary NAT technologies. By partnering with a world leader in industrial water treatment, we hope to replicate our successes in the clinical microbiology and blood screening markets, where we have converted our customers from traditional testing methods and established market leadership positions."

Worldwide, 1.2 billion people do not have access to safe, usable water daily, and 5 million people die each year from waterborne diseases. The most common and pervasive water risks are caused by infectious diseases such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoan parasites. People are introduced to these microorganisms through contaminated drinking water, irrigation, aerosols, and washing or bathing.

The companies estimate that more than 1 billion industrial microbiology tests are conducted annually around the world. Roughly three-quarters of these tests are conducted using culture methods that cannot deliver results as rapidly as NAT technologies.

GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies (www.gewater.com), a unit of General Electric Company, is an industry leader in solving the world's most pressing water reuse, industrial, irrigation, municipal, and drinking water needs. Through desalination, advanced membrane, separation solutions, and water reuse and wastewater management and process technologies, GE delivers added value to its customers. By improving performance and product quality, reducing operating costs, and extending equipment life through a broad range of products and services that are designed to optimize total performance; protect customers' assets; prevent fouling and scaling; and safeguard the environment through water conservation and energy reduction.

Gen-Probe Inc. (www.gen-probe.com) is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of rapid, accurate and cost-effective nucleic acid tests (NATs) used to diagnose human diseases and screen donated human blood. It markets a broad portfolio of products that use the company's patented technologies to detect infectious microorganisms, including those causing sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, strep throat, pneumonia and fungal infections. The company also developed and manufactures the only FDA-approved blood-screening assay for the simultaneous detection of HIV-1 and HCV, which is marketed by Chiron Corp. In addition, Gen-Probe's TIGRIS instrument is the only fully automated, high-throughput NAT system for diagnostics and blood screening. Gen-Probe has more than 20 years of NAT expertise, and its products are used daily in clinical laboratories and blood collection centers worldwide. The company is based in San Diego and employs approximately 900 people.

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