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Volume 16 | Issue 13 | 36 | Jun. 24, 2002

USPS, Biotech Forge Alliance

Companies vie for lucrative pathogen-detection system contracts | By Jim Kling

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SILENT SENTINEL: Cepheid's Gene- Xpert system, core of a developmental bio-hazard detection system intended for use in postal processing facilities.

In its ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the mail system, the US Postal Service (USPS) is turning to PCR-based pathogen-detection systems. On May 13, USPS announced a $3.7 million (US) agreement with the Baltimore, Md.-based Automation and Information Systems division of Northrup Grumman, to test a multicompany system in one of the USPS's central processing facilities. At the core of the technology is the GeneXpert® system developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cepheid. A competing device from Lockheed Martin is undergoing prequalifying evaluations.

Soon after the October 2001 anthrax attacks, USPS decided to...

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