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Meridian Bioscience Europe to distribute intestinal test in Italy

The test, Quantum Blue Calprotectin, differentiates between inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. More than 2 million Europeans have inflammatory bowel disease and 30 million have irritable bowel syndrome, according to Meridian, and the company says using the test will avoid unnecessary colon tests and save patients and health systems money.

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Meridian Bioscience’s European division will distribute in Italy a test for intestinal problems with plans to expand into France.

The test, Quantum Blue Calprotectin, differentiates between inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. More than 2 million Europeans have inflammatory bowel disease and 30 million have irritable bowel syndrome, according to Meridian, and the company says using the test will avoid unnecessary colon tests and save patients and health systems money.

Meridian has recently encountered some difficulties in the Italian market. European sales declined 2 percent in the third quarter, which ended in June. They are down 1 percent for the entire 2009 fiscal year. That decline is due in part to increasing price competition in Italy around its gastritis test, as well as competition for its C. difficile test, according to Meridians most recent earnings report.

Swiss company BÜHLMANN Laboratories AG,  made the agreement with Meridian. Terms of the deal were not announced.

“Preliminary customer interest and sales indicate that the BÜHLMANN Calprotectin test will contribute to FY2010 revenues in Italy,” Antonio Interno, president of Meridian Bioscience Europe, stated in a press release. Interno also mentioned a possible expansion into France, but did not elaborate.

Meridian stock was down 40 cents to $25.01 , a drop of 1.57 percent.