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3M Takes Over UK Rapid Diagnostics Company Acolyte Biomedica

3M has acquired Acolyte Biomedica Ltd., a Salisbury, UK-based provider of an automated microbial detection platform that aids in the rapid detection, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases.

Acolyte Biomedica Ltd.  develops, manufactures and markets rapid microbiology products and has an exclusive global license to AK Rapid technology, granted from DSTL for clinical and veterinary use. It has further developed this ultra sensitive detection technology into a series of commercial prototype products, which rapidly detect the presence of bacteria and determine their antibiotic susceptibility direct from clinical samples such as blood.

In January 2006, Acolyte launched a rapid culture-based MRSA test, BacLite Rapid, which can detect the presence or absence of MRSA direct from clinical samples in less than five hours. This is the only available rapid screening test which can discriminate between live and dead bacteria allowing clinicians to determine the risk of resistant bacteria spreading in the hospital environment.

Acolyte Biomedica brings to 3M’s infection prevention platform a pipeline of rapid culture-based screening tests for microbes, such as MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), that simplify the diagnostic process by automating traditional culture methodology resulting in reliable confirmed ‘negatives’ in hours rather than days.

Early detection of dangerous microbes is becoming more important as multiple resistant bacteria strains become more prevalent. Acolyte Biomedica helps hospitals control high-risk infections through improved screening and targeted treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and occurs most frequently in hospital patients who have weakened immune systems.

The addition of Acolyte Biomedica allows 3M to expand more quickly into the emerging market of infection prevention diagnostics, especially in Europe where Acolyte Biomedica has a commercialized product for MRSA. Now, 3M will be able to provide customers around the world with rapid, easy-to-use microbial diagnostics that help to reduce the impact of resistant microbes and improve hospital laboratory efficiency.

“This acquisition builds on 3M’s innovative research and development in the medical diagnostics area and is a natural extension of our core infection prevention business,” said Chuck Kummeth, division vice president, 3M Medical Division. “Our vision is to continue expanding our platform to include diagnostic solutions ranging from simple, culture-based approaches to more advanced molecular diagnostics that will help hospitals to improve the quality of patient care.”

3M’s infection prevention portfolio includes diagnostic testing, sterilization assurance, skin preparation, sterile field and surface, wound management and environmental cleaning.

Acolyte Biomedica Ltd. was formed in 2000 and is based at Porton Down, Salisbury, UK, where it employs 13 specialist scientists and commercial staff. It has been funded by shareholders Porton Capital, DSTL/Ploughshare Innovations, Partnerships UK and Angle Plc. 

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