bioMérieux and COPAN announce the first commercial success of their collaboration for the automation and efficiency of microbiology laboratories

22 March, 2016

bioMérieux, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, and COPAN, a leading manufacturer of innovative preanalytic solutions, are pleased to announce the first commercial success resulting from their alliance. The two companies signed a strategic partnership in January 2015 for the distribution and co-development of solutions in microbiology laboratory automation and efficiency. Their offer, which combines COPAN’s unique know-how in automation and preanalytics with bioMérieux’s leadership in microbiological diagnostics, has been very well received from both public and private labs in Europe, and from reference labs in the United States.

bioMérieux was chosen by the public hospital group in Lyon, France (Hospices Civils de Lyon, HCL) to work with them and automate their principal microbiology lab, bringing together in a single location the laboratory activities of three hospitals. This new consolidated lab will manage more than 1,200 bacteriological samples daily.

After one year of constructive competition between the three main manufacturers on the market, the bioMérieux-COPAN solution (WASPLab and VIRTUO) was selected for the automation of the bacteriological laboratory of the Institute for Infectious Agents of Lyon (IAI). The IAI will be the sole microbiology laboratory for the city of Lyon’s public hospitals; its automated bacteriology platform will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This ambitious project will be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2017. bioMérieux is a key partner for the lab’s spatial and functional organization, as well as the instruments,” said Professor François Vandenesch, HCL Coordinator Institute for Infectious Agents.

The Gen-Bio private medical biology laboratory is the first laboratory to be equipped with the combined bioMérieux-COPAN offer for the automation of its new technical microbiology laboratory, which receives samples from satellite laboratories. Thanks to its tailor-made solution to meet to the needs of laboratory consolidation, bioMérieux is currently finalizing other contracts for the automation of large microbiology laboratories in the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as reference labs in the United States. In the United Kingdom, the bioMérieux-COPAN solution was chosen by the Pathology Services of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust at their New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton West Midlands.

We are very proud of the continued trust that microbiology laboratory professionals have placed in bioMérieux for over 50 years. Following our partnership with COPAN, our expanded portfolio of solutions brings a valuable response to our customers’ needs and new operational challenges. This commercial offering is part of our innovation strategy to further strengthen lab efficiency and productivity, as well as the medical value of in vitro diagnostics,” said Alexandre Mérieux, CEO of bioMérieux.

Based on the success of the first year of their partnership, bioMérieux and COPAN are deploying the distribution agreement of this offer internationally. Since January 1st 2015, bioMérieux distributes COPAN WASP® and WASPLab platforms in France, Germany and in the United Kingdom. As of late 2015, bioMérieux has distribution rights in other European countries, such as Ireland and Austria, and in most Asia-Pacific countries (China, Japan, Australia) as well as in reference labs in the United States. Since January 2016, bioMérieux has a distribution agreement in Mexico, Chile, Columbia and Brazil.

According to Stefania Triva, CEO of the COPAN Group, “This partnership is already generating value for the early adopters; we look forward to significantly increasing the installed base in 2016, which will provide further evidence of the tangible benefits for the laboratories that decide to work with us.

Sharing a common vision of open and modular automation, the bioMérieux and COPAN research and development teams are working in close cooperation to develop additional workflow optimization, imaging and software algorithms that will enrich the existing offer with new microbiology solutions.

The bioMérieux-COPAN solution enables the automatic processing of a sample during all the different steps of microbiology analysis. The streaking and incubation manual processes are automated and standardized by the WASP® Walk-Away Specimen Processor automated plate streaking system, and by the WASPLab system, an innovative incubation, imaging and digital analysis system that reduces the time needed to identify bacterial growth. These instruments enrich bioMérieux’s automated product range including BacT/ALERT® and VIRTUO for blood culture, and VITEK® 2 and VITEK® MS for bacterial identification and automated antibiotic susceptibility testing.



With a reputation for innovation in preanalytics, COPAN is the leading supplier of collection and transport systems in the world. COPAN's innovations in pre-analytics include patented Flocked Swabs, ESwab , and UTM Viral Transport, which have been proven to advance the quality of traditional and contemporary microbiology assays through improved fluid-dynamics. Established in 1979, COPAN has successfully entered the field of Microbiology Laboratory Automation with WASP® and WASPLab .


About WASP® and WASPLab

The WASP® Walk-Away Specimen Processor is a truly revolutionary instrument for liquid sample processing for microbiology. The WASP® provides a comprehensive system that encompasses all aspects of automated specimen processing: planting and streaking, Gram slide preparation, enrichment broth inoculation and Kirby-Bauer set-up and disk application. Designed to transform the work of laboratory managers and technologists, the WASPLab™ system moves current laboratories to the digital microbiology era through high-resolution culture plate images, improving speed, interpretation, reliability and accessibility of results.

Pioneering diagnostics