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GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Co., and Gen-Probe announced that the two companies will work together on an exclusive basis to develop, manufacture and commercialize nucleic acid testing (NAT) technologies that are designed to detect the unique genetic sequences of microorganisms in selected water applications.
"In today's day and age, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of our water resources," said George Oliver, president and chief executive officer of GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies. "The GE-Gen-Probe alliance will explore pioneering technologies that will help prevent the spread of illness and disease throughout the world."
Hank Nordhoff, Gen-Probe's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "This agreement represents a significant milestone in our strategy to enter attractive new growth markets with proprietary NAT technologies. By partnering with a world leader in industrial water treatment, we hope to replicate our successes in the clinical microbiology and blood screening markets, where we have converted our customers from traditional testing methods and established market leadership positions."
Worldwide, 1.2 billion people do not have access to safe, usable water daily, and 5 million people die each year from waterborne diseases. The most common and pervasive water risks are caused by infectious diseases such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoan parasites. People are introduced to these microorganisms through contaminated drinking water, irrigation, aerosols, and washing or bathing.
The companies estimate that more than 1 billion industrial microbiology tests are conducted annually around the world. Roughly three-quarters of these tests are conducted using culture methods that cannot deliver results as rapidly as NAT technologies.