SEOUL, South Korea, June 21, 2017-- Seegene Inc. (096530.KQ), a leading developer of multiplex PCR technologies headquartered in South Korea, today announced an MOU entering into partnership with one of the Agriculture Department of Mexico, SAGARPA’s agricultural research agencies INIFAP (Institutio Nacional de Investigaciones Forestates, Agricolas y Pecuarias) on collaborative clinical studies and product development of bovine tuberculosis (TB).
This is Seegene’s first MOU forged with a Mexican government agency. The both parties agreed to perform collaborative studies to evaluate the clinical applications of bovine TB detection assays as well as studies on zoonotic TB diagnosis and control for those who work in the livestock industry in Mexico. Seegene will launch the product in Mexico by year-end.
Dr. Hugo Fragoso Sánchez, quarantine/monitoring director of SENASICA (Servicio Nacional De Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria) said, “We plan to deploy bovine TB detection assays developed with Seegene’s core technologies to the nationwide disease monitoring and surveillance program in Mexico. It carries great significance in that it is the nation’s first implementation of bovine TB molecular diagnostics (MDx) to prevent and control livestock diseases.”
Bovine TB diagnosis is generally based on the immunological method, yet it has many restraints because detection results are not accurate and fast enough. When tested and confirmed as bovine TB positive, cattle are slaughtered to prevent further spread of the disease, resulting in heavy economic losses and serious health threat in the cattle industry. According to DOF(Diario Oficial de la Federación), the Official Journal of the Mexican Federation, the economic losses caused by bovine TB in Mexico were estimated hundreds of US million dollars, due to a limited exportation of cattle.
Furthermore, bovine TB, also known as zoonotic TB caused by M. bovis is affecting Mexico and other countries yet their actual damage has not been highlighted because conventional diagnostics cannot differentiate between M. bovis and M. tuberculosis. MDx is the solution expected to improve current situation as it is capable of identifying all those pathogens.
Seegene’s CEO and Founder, Dr. Jong-Yoon said, “Seegene’s multiplex MDx technology enables fast and accurate diagnosis at affordable cost. While traditional immunology-based detection method cannot identify the causative agent of infection on bovine TB, Seegene’s multiplex MDx assay detects and differentiates Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium bovis BCG, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This would greatly improve Mexican quarantine and inspection system.”
In April 2016, Seegene established a joint venture Amplibio Seegene Diagnostics (ASD) with a Mexican biotech company Amplibio. Based on technology and know-how transferred from Seegene, ASD will develop and roll out localized products to gain price competitiveness. Seegene will establish a market presence in Mexico first and aggressively penetrate fast-growing Latin America market in the area of human and non-human MDx.
* MOU signed between Mexico SAGARPA’s INIFAP and Seegene for collaborative product development and clinical study: (from middle to left) INIFAP’s bovine TB Director Dr. Ferando Otero, Head of Seegene Institute of Life Sciences Dr. Nackmoon Sung, INIFAP’s TB chief researcher Dr. Marco Flores.