Teleconcepts May Reinvent Itself

For a company that posted a loss last year on revenues of only $2.6 million, TeleConcepts has been riding high of late. Shares of the maker and importer of telephones and telephone devices zoomed on the American Stock Exchange from 1 on Feb. 3 to 2 3/4 on Apr. 1. What gives?

Two things: A new group led by Paul Montle, president of Montle International, bought a controlling interest in TeleConcepts, and the company is said to be poised to acquire a company called Thermascan. TeleConcepts will then spin off to shareholders its telephone business and take on a new name, Viral Testing Systems, whose stock will still be traded on the Amex.

So what's so hot about Thermascan? The company, says Montle, has the exclusive license to market in the U.S. Fluorognost, which, he explains, is an immunofluorescent assay test to detect human immunodeficiency virus Type 1, commonly called HIV-1, in human serum or plasma. Detlev Baurs-Krey, Thermascan chairman and CEO, says the test has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration and will be distributed in late April. He says it is the first "sufficiently sensitive and specific test to be approved by the FDA as both a confirmation and screening test for HIV." The standard test, called Western Blot, takes 12 to 24 hours to process, says Baurs-Krey. Fluorognost takes 90 minutes and can be performed in a doctor's office, he says. Baurs-Krey claims an accuracy of 99%

Dr. Sharon Geyer, who headed the FDA's review panel for the test, said studies showed that the sensitivity of the Fluorognost test was equivalent to those of the Western blot and the standard ELIZA blood-screening test.

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