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Magellan Diagnostics (Meridian Bioscience, Inc., NASDAQ: VIVO) Continues Global Development, Signs Exclusive Partnership to Provide Portable Blood Lead Testing in Africa

CINCINNATI, March 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO) announced today that Magellan Diagnostics Inc., a business unit of Meridian since March 2016, has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Biofirm Technologies, one of the leading providers of laboratory equipment, consumables, reagents, and medical equipment in East and Central Africa. Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® II blood lead testing system is the only FDA cleared, rapid and portable system capable of providing a quantitative blood lead result in just three minutes.  LeadCare II is used in thousands of pediatric and primary care settings in the United States to help doctors diagnose lead exposure quickly and easily, from just two drops of blood. 

Lead exposure is a global health threat because, even at low levels, it can cause behavioral and learning disabilities, hyperactivity and lower IQ, as well as hypertension and kidney dysfunction. A 2015 report by the World Health Organization on lead poisoning explains that African countries have a “range of ongoing, lead-related public health concerns” driven by numerous “sources of lead to which African children may be exposed, often simultaneously.”  These sources include: lead paint in homes, on toys and on playground equipment; occupational sources from mining, smelting, battery manufacture/recycling, and e-waste processing; as well traditional medicines, cosmetics, and artisanal cookware. The report goes on to describe a health economic study that “conservatively estimated that, annually, around 98.2 million IQ points are lost in Africa due to lead exposure, translating into economic losses of US $134.7 billion.”

Describing the need for LeadCare II in Africa, Amy Winslow, president and CEO of Magellan Diagnostics explained, “We have seen devastating news of entire communities destroyed by lead poisoning, whether by artisanal gold mining in Zamfara, Nigeria, or from industrial exposures in Mombasa, Kenya.  Sadly, behind these headlines is the quieter reality that lead exposure sources are myriad, resulting in blood lead levels for children and pregnant women that are far above what we see in the U.S. To understand the challenges of lead poisoning, and to find solutions, you must have a simple way to identify who is most at risk.  We look forward to helping Biofirm Technologies provide LeadCare II to address this need.”

Lourdes Weltzien, president of Meridian Asia Pacific, who is in charge of leveraging Meridian’s global footprint to expand distribution of LeadCare II commented, “We have seen incredible interest in LeadCare II from regions across the globe, especially in areas like Africa, China, India and Australia where battery manufacturing/recycling, e-waste, or mining and smelting industries are common. Lead poisoning is a devastating and preventable disease. We are looking forward to having a positive impact with a device that can be used anywhere and provide answers in 3 minutes, ultimately helping to preserve the potential of millions of children.”

Distribution activities with Biofirm Technologies will begin immediately, focusing on developing awareness, at clinical and governmental levels, about the problem of lead poisoning. Education will address sources of lead exposure, consequences – including deficits in fertility, fetal growth, intellectual development, learning and behavior – as well as how portable testing can rapidly identify at-risk populations.

About Magellan Diagnostics, Inc.  
Magellan Diagnostics is a medical device company that provides point-of-care systems, clinical laboratory instruments, and analytical laboratory services focused on lead testing. A business unit of Meridian Bioscience, Inc., Magellan is headquartered outside Boston in Billerica, Massachusetts, and is dedicated to offering high-quality, reliable products that help identify children and adults at risk of harm due to lead exposure.  We are committed to educating clinicians, policy makers, payers, families and communities about the permanent health damage caused by lead and how to detect and address lead exposure.  For more information, visit www.magellandx.com.

About Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
Meridian is a fully integrated life science company that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes a broad range of innovative diagnostic test kits, rare reagents, specialty biologicals and components. Utilizing a variety of methods, our diagnostic tests provide accuracy, simplicity and speed in the early diagnosis and treatment of common medical conditions, such as infections and lead poisoning. Meridian’s diagnostic products are used outside of the human body and require little or no special equipment. The Company's diagnostic products are designed to enhance patient well-being while reducing the total outcome costs of health care. Meridian has strong market positions in the areas of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections, and blood lead level testing. In addition, Meridian is a supplier of rare reagents, specialty biologicals and components used by organizations in the life science and agri-bio industries engaged in research. Its products are also used by companies as components in the manufacture of diagnostics. The Company markets its products and technologies to hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, diagnostics manufacturers and agri-bio companies in more than 70 countries around the world. The Company’s shares are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, symbol VIVO. Meridian's website address is www.meridianbioscience.com.

Contact:
Amy Winslow
President, Chief Executive Officer
Magellan Diagnostics
Phone: 978-856-2345
Email: info@magellandx.com

Lourdes Weltzien
President of Meridian Asia Pacific
Telephone: 901-382-8716 or
Email: info@meridianlifescience.com

John A. Kraeutler
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Meridian Bioscience, Inc.
Phone:  513.271.3700
Email: mbi@meridianbioscience.com

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