Roche sets up co -marketing agreement with Unlibabs for greater access to HPV tests
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


LONDON— In what Roche is calling "an innovative commercial agreement," the healthcare company Roche is teaming up with private cellular pathology laboratory Unilabs-IHS in a collaboration designed to help make state-of-the art testing for signs of cervical cancer more accessible to thousands of women in London and throughout the United Kingdom.
Roche's "leading-edge and fully automated" cobas HPV test, which runs on the cobas 4800 system, reportedly will provide a fast turn-around of cervical smear samples from potentially thousands of women per year, sent to the London-based laboratory from clinicians from all over the country. 
The testing at Unilabs-IHS will not only be conducted as a follow up  to the traditional "Pap" cervical smear method to check ambiguous results but will also be used upon request in primary screening for cervical pre-cancer, giving a greater chance to avoid disease progression.
Roche says that the ultra-high reliability of the cobas HPV test will be of huge benefit for clinicians and patients alike, due to the test's unique genotyping that individually identifies genotypes 16 and 18, the highest-risk types associated with the development of cervical cancer and its precursor lesions, while simultaneously identifying 12 other high risk HPV types. 
"HPV testing provides earlier identification of those women at risk of developing cervical cancer.  The agreement that we have struck with Unilabs-IHS for cervical screening with the cobas HPV test, is a significant step forward towards spreading access to HPV testing at the primary screening stage," according to Paul Eros, director of molecular diagnostics at Roche.  "Given the clear benefits of this technology to patients as well as the NHS, we look forward to seeing the technology's timely introduction at the primary screening stage, across the country via the national cervical screening programme - promising a better deal for women and a more efficient approach to cervical screening."
"Using the cobas HPV test on the cobas 4800 platform for our HPV testing work load, means that clinicians will not only have the fastest ever turnaround times, but will also have enhanced and incontrovertible HPV results, with no need to re-test - and all at no extra cost," said Dr. Glen Dixon,  medical director of cytopathology at Unilabs-IHS of the deal.

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