Molecular diagnostics technology developed by Cooperative Diagnostics has caught the eye of United Kingdom firm Lab21 Limited, which has signed an exclusive worldwide license to develop the technology into new personalized medicine tests.

No financial terms between Lab21 and Greenwood, South Carolina-based Cooperative Diagnostics were disclosed. Cooperative Diagnostics has developed custom nucleic acid tests that it has commercialized for infectious diseases that include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, malaria and dengue fever. The company says its technology cuts the cost and the time to develop a new test.

Lab21 sells immunodiagnostic assays and is currently developing nucleic acid tests. The company’s tests are used in blood bank screening, medical diagnostics and drug discovery.

Lab21 CEO Graham Mullis said in a statement that the Cooperative Diagnostics technologies will bring “powerful new tools” to its diagnostics development. The licensing deal grants Lab21 use of Cooperative’s technology on a set of defined biomarker targets in the areas of oncology and infectious disease. Lab21 expects to launch its first CE-marked companion diagnostic using the technology during the first half of 2012.

“We expect the technology to deliver a substantial number of new assays in the first 12 months and will be of significant interest to pharmaceutical companies needing to fast track companion diagnostic development,” Lab21 chief scientific officer Berwyn Clarke said in a statement.

Lab21 already has a South Carolina connection. In 2009, the company acquired nanotechnology company Selah Technologies and established a U.S. base of operations in Greenville. Both Selah and Cooperative emerged from SC Launch, an economic development and commercialization program.

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