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IRIS International Announces Distribution Agreement With Alifax and Launch of ESR Automated Instrumentation

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 1:17pm

CHATSWORTH, Calif.,(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – IRIS International, Inc. (Nasdaq:IRIS), a leading manufacturer of automated in-vitro diagnostics systems and consumables and a provider of high-value personalized diagnostics, today announced the distributorship and launch of the Alifax family of automated Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) analysis systems.

The Alifax automated ESR analysis systems are designed to fit all workloads, including small hospitals, large reference laboratories, core laboratories and satellite locations. Employing patented technology, the Alifax ESR systems process the same whole blood tubes from the hematology analyzer. The ESR systems provide fully automated, hands off operation in a small footprint.

"We are pleased to be launching and distributing the Alifax family of automated ESR analysis systems," said Thomas Warekois, President of the Iris Diagnostics Division. "This patented technology is a breakthrough in turnaround time -- generating results every 35 seconds or less, versus one hour for standard ESR analysis by the reference Westergren method. We believe that our customers will be highly satisfied with the Alifax ESR testing solutions and expect that the small sample volume and STAT capability will reduce ER waiting times and significantly minimize the need for patient specimen redraws."

"We expect the Alifax family of automated ESR systems to deliver increased productivity and efficiencies in laboratory labor utilization and reduced turnaround times (TAT) along with improved patient outcomes and physician satisfaction," stated Cesar M. Garcia, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IRIS International. "We are confident that these ESR products will become a market leader by delivering another innovative automation solution to the clinical laboratory. The addition of the ESR product line should also leverage our diagnostics sales and support team within the US. The synergies with our urinalysis sales call point and the strategic alignment with our 3GEMS hematology product in development make this product family addition an important step in our plans to expand into adjacent in-vitro diagnostics segments."

ESR is a common blood test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation. There are approximately 75-80 million ESR tests ordered annually in the US representing an addressable market opportunity of approximately $120 million. Standard ESR analysis is a measure of red cells settling over time, typically one hour, and variations occur in the results, depending on the degree of specimen viscosity and presence of inflammatory proteins. Alifax's technology measures the kinetics of red blood cell aggregation by capillary photometry and reads aggregation over a ten second period. By directly measuring the amount of red cell aggregation, it is not necessary to wait on red cells

settling under gravity. Correlation of the Alifax technology versus the Westergren reference method is reported in many peer-reviewed articles as over 94%. ESR systems are exempt from FDA review prior to commercialization in the US.

About IRIS International, Inc.
IRIS International, Inc. is a leading global in vitro diagnostics company focused on products that analyze particles and living cell forms and structures, or morphology of a variety of body fluids. The Company's products leverage its strengths in flow imaging technology, particle recognition and automation to bring efficiency to hospital and commercial laboratories. The initial applications for its technology have been in the urinalysis market and the Company is the leading worldwide provider of automated urine microscopy and chemistry systems, with over 3,700 automated urine microscopy systems shipped to more than 50 countries. The Company is expanding its core imaging and morphology expertise into related markets, including applications in hematology and body fluids. In addition, the Company's personalized medicine group develops and commercializes the Company's NADiA ultra-sensitive nucleic acid detection immunoassay platform, with applications in oncology and infectious disease. For more information, please visit www.proiris.com.

About Alifax
Incorporated in 1988 as a privately owned company, Alifax S.p.a. is an Italian company, specialized in the development, production and distribution of automated clinical diagnostic instrumentation for the determination of the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and bacterial culture in urine and other human body fluids.

The Alifax family of automated ESR systems employs patented technology to fit all workloads. Its technology measures the kinetics of red blood cell aggregation by capillary photometry and correlates more than 94% versus the reference Westergren method.

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