U.K.'s Enigma Diagnostics jumps into China with disease pathogen testing

China remains the brass ring for many med tech companies, and the U.K.'s Enigma Diagnostics is the latest to find a way in.

Enigma disclosed it will team up with China's National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention (ICDC) to develop new rapid, easy-to-use molecular diagnostic tests and tools designed to spot infectious disease pathogens.

Neither side is discussing financial details. But it's safe to say that this is a big win for Enigma, which launched in 2004, also has a presence in San Diego, CA, and focuses its mojo on molecular diagnostic point-of-care infectious disease testing. Enigma's Mini Laboratory system (Enigma ML) technology will be in play as part of the diagnostic development deal. The technology blends both laboratory and a stand-alone diagnostic testing platform, and is fully automated. Enigma said the system allows for testing of a wide range of DNA and RNA disease targets, with a quick turnaround time. Execs market the technology to both developed and developing healthcare markets.

Enigma claims on its website that Enigma ML is the first in vitro diagnostic tool that can deliver a raw sample to result through diagnostic testing in less than an hour, with accuracy on par with more complex reference laboratories.

"The collaboration is a cornerstone achievement in our China strategy and our broader commercialization program, and follows on from the European CE mark registration of the Enigma ML system in January this year," Enigma Chairman John McKinley said in a statement.

The timing is also pretty savvy, considering that China is investing substantial funding into modernizing its healthcare infrastructure. Part of this effort includes development of a national network of laboratories focused on pathogen testing, ICDC Beijing said in a statement included in the deal announcement. Put a different way, Enigma is tapping into China's efforts to grow how it diagnoses, monitors and addresses pathogens, particularly those that display drug resistance.

Enigma's growth also reflects the benefits of having at least some government backing on its own. The company noted on its website that it is a "private public partnership" with the U.K. government and the venture capitalist Porton Capital Technology Fund serving as its shareholders.

- read the release

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