Philips and Biomérieux have announced that they will jointly develop automated handheld diagnostic testing solutions for hospitals that can be deployed at the point of care.

As part of the deal, the Dutch and French companies will aim to improve the diagnosis and management of disease in critical care settings in hospitals.

Under the agreement, bioMérieux will have access to Philips’ magnotech technology for hospital-based point-of-care testing applications. Products developed as a result of the partnership will be co-branded by Philips and bioMérieux, with bioMérieux being the exclusive distributor worldwide.

Steve Rusckowski, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Philips Healthcare, said: “Philips is convinced that point-of-care testing in hospital critical care settings will play a major part in improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.”

Philips is best known for its medical technology, patient monitoring and diagnostic tools, whilst bioMérieux is well recognised in the industry for developing biological assays and its knowledge of cardiovascular and infectious disease markers.

Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of bioMérieux, added: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Philips, which has a strong tradition in innovating patient care, and our collaboration will result in superb products able to rapidly deliver high medical value results to clinicians.

“This new point-of-care testing device will allow us to enter a market that is growing at about 10% a year.”

The companies have already established a product development programme and expect the first milestone to be made this year, with products available on the market by 2013.