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A bigger battleground in the TB war

Cellestis Inc. expands offices

Posted: October 14, 2008 8:06 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Cellestis Inc., which distributes do-it-yourself tuberculosis tests, celebrated its grand opening Friday, after relocating its distribution center to Rye Canyon Business Park.

To keep fighting a war against disease, sometimes you need a bigger battleground.

Cellestis Inc. recently tripled the size of its Valencia headquarters in its ongoing battle to defeat tuberculosis.

"We outgrew the other location," Cellestis employee Scott Weiss said. "Over there, we were busting at the seams."

The company hosted the celebration of its new North American distribution headquarters on Constellation Road in the Rye Canyon industrial center.

Cellestis is a local subsidiary of the global Cellestis Limited company which manufactures a relatively new tuberculosis-detecting blood test named the Quantiferon-TB Gold Test.

The Valencia branch is primarily responsible for shipping the test once it arrives from manufacturers in San Diego. The new location provides for 10,000 square-feet of shipping grounds. The last location on Smyth Drive was only 3,000 square-feet.

Employees, potential customers, and company heads celebrated the new spacious property with tacos and a live mariachi band Friday.

"We came in to replace the tuberculosis skin test," said Mark Boyle, senior vice president. "It's not a good test and it produces too many false positives."

It's time for a better tool and better health care when it comes to detecting tuberculosis, Boyle said.

"Most people think tuberculosis was a problem in the 1980s," said Dr. Antonino Cantazaro, a Cellestis director. "More people have TB this year than ever before.

"BCG, the most widely used vaccine in the world for TB, confuses results. People are then given drugs for a disease they don't have."

Many U.S. hospitals switched to their Quantiferon-TB test, Boyle said. The company sold 50,000 tests in the U.S. alone.

The test is now used routinely in the U.S. and worldwide by public health departments, correctional facilities and for routine testing of health care workers, according to Boyle in a recent news release.

The proximity to Los Angeles is one of the many reasons Cellestis Inc. settled in Valencia in 2002.

Since 2002, the company's professional team has grown from three to 18, and most are Santa Clarita residents.


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