French company bioMerieux Inc. says it has expanded its collaboration agreements with Affymetrix of Santa Clara, CA, to enable the development of a broad spectrum of tests in infectious disease and industrial testing.

Using Affymetrix GeneChip brand probe arrays, bioMerieux will develop its first product resulting from the collaboration. This product, to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2003, will be used to verify the authenticity and origin of food and animal feed.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, bioMerieux will have non-exclusive access to Affymetrix technology for the determination of virulence factors, bacterial strain typing, and sepsis diagnosis, including host pathogens response to infections. bioMerieux has added rights in fields outside bacteriology to develop new assays for Hepatitis B virus, respiratory and central nervous system infectious panels.

From its U.S. offices in Durham, bioMerieux plans to comercialize products, powered by Affymetrix technology, with a new instrument and software platform developed by bioMerieux.

Further terms of the expanded collaboration agreement call for Affymetrix to receive upfront and milestone payments and receive royalties for all collaborative products that are developed and commercialized by bioMerieux.

“The collaboration with Affymetrix is highly important in this field and demonstrates our determination to remain a major player within in vitro diagnostics and especially in molecular biology,” said Christophe Merieux, vice president and director of medical affairs and research for bioMerieux. “Access to Affymetrix’ GeneChip platform will allow us to introduce novel diagnostic tests into clinical routine while benefiting from Affymetrix’ groundbreaking technology and industrial scale manufacturing capabilities.”