Novartis blood Dx kits to hit Africa through Israeli distributor

Novartis ($NVS) is aligning with an Israeli diagnostics and laboratory equipment company to distribute blood test diagnostic kits in 16 African countries.

The deal between Ilex Medical and Novartis' vaccines and diagnostic division expands an existing exclusive arrangement covering South Africa, Israel's Globes business newspaper reports. Both sides aren't disclosing financial details, but Ilex expects a $50 million annual market potential in those new markets, according to the story.

For South Africa, Ilex booked NIS 95 million selling Novartis blood test kits to the country's National Blood Service generated in 2011, or about $24.7 million U.S. That was a big chunk of Ilex's overall revenue--about 14%, the article explains.

Ilex will likely be one to watch as a company working hard to expand the sales of diagnostic products and equipment in emerging markets. Though, as Globes reports, Ilex focuses mostly in Israel, the company is expanding to other emerging markets, including Russia.

Ilex, launched in 1977, sells in vitro diagnostics equipment, reagents, blood bank diagnostics and related support services. Beyond Novartis, the company also maintains agreements with companies including Gen-Probe and bioMerieux, according to its website.

- read the Globes story