Ivax to market Pediatrix’s newborn screening technology in Latin America

“Ivax Corporation announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc. to distribute the proprietary StepOne Newborn Screening Program developed by Pediatrix’s subsidiary, Pediatrix Screening, Inc., throughout Latin America.

Pediatrix Screening is one of the world’s leading providers of newborn screening programs. Ivax will distribute Pediatrix’s proprietary StepOne Newborn Screening Program throughout a region that welcomes over 11 million newborns each year. Ivax and Pediatrix also have the option to expand the application of the screening technology to children and adults, and to expand the agreement to cover other geographic territories.

The Pediatrix StepOne Newborn Screening Program makes it possible to detect more than 50 metabolic disorders in newborns from just a few drops of blood. While often manageable if detected early, left undetected, these conditions may lead to any number of complications, including mental retardation and death.

Newborn screening is an area of increasing interest among healthcare providers throughout the world because early detection and successful intervention of many disorders has a direct impact on reducing healthcare costs and improving the quality of life for patients. For example, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration recently issued a report urging a uniform screening panel for all babies born in the US for as many as 29 disorders.

Pediatrix Screening has been a leader in bringing state-of-the-art technologies to newborn screening. Since pioneering the use of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) in 1994, the company has screened over 2 million newborns. Pediatrix’s laboratory performs state mandated and supplemental screening for babies born in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Nebraska and offers its screening program to hospitals, physicians and parents seeking to supplement state programs across the country. The company also provides screening services internationally.

Dr Phillip Frost, Ivax Corporation’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Due to the lack of adequate medical detection and attention, metabolic disorders have long been silent and debilitating afflictions. We welcome the opportunity to commercialise Pediatrix’s innovative screening technology in Latin America and hope to help raise the standard of healthcare to that region’s children. Ivax is in a good position to introduce this new technology in Latin America since it is one of the largest pharmaceutical groups there, particularly in Venezuela, Chile, Argentina and Peru. Ivax presently has over 2,000 sales representatives in Latin America.”

“This agreement has the potential to significantly expand the international reach of our comprehensive newborn screening program,” said Roger J Medel, M.D., chief executive officer of Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc. “This new relationship with Ivax makes it possible to offer to babies born in Latin America the same level of screening that is currently available to many babies born in the US.”