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Serono announces major new advance in infertility treatment

Europe's biggest biotechnology group, Serono, announced on Tuesday that it will launch two new products at the beginning of next year in what the company is calling a major new advance in infertility treatment.

Serono says the two new products are based entirely on recombinant DNA material while its main competitors still use urine-based products. Analysts say they should give the company the edge over its rivals.

Serono will launch "Luveris" in Europe following the European Commission's decision to grant it full marketing authorisation. Luveris is the world's first recombinant human "luteinizing" hormone.

Ovridel, also a recombinant DNA product, will enter the United States market in the first quarter of 2001. It is expected to gain European approval shortly afterwards.

Serono's senior vice-president in sales, Jean-Pierre Verhassel, said the announcement marked a "major milestone" for the company.

The company already markets one recombinant product called Gonal F.

Recombinant treatments have a higher purity and consistency than the previous generation of products based on female urine.

Serono announced third quarter income of SFr143 million ($84 million) recently, up from SFr78 million on the same period for the previous year.

swissinfo with agencies

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