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INSIDE INDUSTRY
LBT Innovations finalizes joint venture to drive global production of world-class automated diagnostics technology
Medical technology company LBT Innovations Limited has signed a landmark agreement with laboratory instrumentation company Hettich AG Switzerland to establish a joint venture to drive the commercial development and global distribution of LBT’s groundbreaking Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS®).

Under the agreement, signed by Hettich AG Switzerland Managing Director Mr. Peter Lutz and LBT Innovations CEO and Managing Director Mrs. Lusia Guthrie, the two companies will hold 50:50 ownership in the JV Company.

Hettich will make an upfront payment of A$2.0 million to LBT and will provide funding of A$4.0 million into the Joint Venture (in tranches subject to achievement of milestones) to develop APAS products for commercial launch.

LBT will license to the Joint Venture its APAS intellectual property and will, on behalf of the Joint Venture, complete its development. LBT will be retained by the Joint Venture for continued support and upgrade of APAS software in the market. The APAS intellectual property remains owned by LBT. Hettich AG Switzerland will make working capital and technology available to the Joint Venture. The Joint Venture will have the exclusive right to the manufacture and marketing of APAS in the specified field.

“This agreement confirms LBT’s arrival as a significant global developer of world-class medical technology,” said LBT’s Chairman, Mr. Bob Finder. “LBT Innovations has demonstrated the scientific expertise and the managerial acumen to deliver breakthrough products that the market wants and the healthcare profession needs. A key milestone in the life of an innovation company is when its second product is successfully launched into the market and with the help of Hettich AG Switzerland; we will soon achieve this important event.”

“Achieving a joint venture with equal ownership with a company of Hettich’s stature and reputation is a strong vote of confidence in the long-term prospects for APAS,” said Mrs. Lusia Guthrie. “This agreement is better than a straight licensing deal, as it will entitle LBT to an equal share in profits and royalties arising from sales and future licensing and use of the technology – as well as a much greater say in its long-term development and marketing.” Mrs. Guthrie also added that the new Joint Venture is already in discussions with global diagnostic companies over rights to future global distribution of APAS instruments.

APAS is a novel automated culture plate reading and reporting system developed by LBT Innovations with researchers from the University of Adelaide. Automated identification of the large percentage of culture plates that typically return negative findings will mean significant time savings for microbiology labs, as well as faster and more consistent results for physicians and their patients. APAS is the first application of LBT’s innovative intelligent image interpretation platform and has the potential for practical use in a number of fields beyond conventional culture plate microbiology, which LBT is also pursuing.

Hettich AG Switzerland is an affiliate of German instrumentation company, Andreas Hettich AG GmbH, which is widely recognized for the introduction of the first microprocessor controlled and robotically integrated centrifuges and is today one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of automated laboratory equipment.

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