Limerick-based GenCell Biosystems has signed a $12m contract with the health ministry of Brazil. GenCell's clinical screenings and diagnostic technologies will be used to diagnose infectious diseases in the Brazilian national public health system.

Kieran Curran, GenCell's chief executive, says that about 150 million people use the Brazilian healthcare system and his company's technology will be used to screen for several different types of pathogen in the country's blood banking system, including HIV and hepatitis. GenCell's technology can generate high quality diagnostic information more quickly and at less cost than other testing methods currently on the market. 

Mr Curran says the deal is a vote of confidence in technology which was basically invented from scratch at the Limerick firm. He says the company faced "aggressive" competition from international rivals to secure the deal, adding that GenCell is in talks with other countries about rolling out their technology there. 

MORNING BRIEFS - Danske Bank has reported a profit before tax from core activities of €1.5 billion for last year. The net profit was 51% higher than in 2012. Chief executive Thomas Borgen said the financial results had improved, but they were still unsatisfactory. In its annual report,Danske said its refocusing its former National Irish Bank activities in the Ireland as the banking and economic climates are likely to remain challenging for the foreseeable future. It has already started to concentrate solely on corporate and institutional clients, discontinuing its retail and SME activities.

*** Aer Lingus said its total traffic for the for the month of January, including Aer Lingus Regional, was 2% higher than in January 2013 at 651,000 passengers. Its long haul passenger numbers increased by 7.3% to 59,000, while short haul passenger numbers were down 1% to 513,000. Load factor improved by 1.9 percentage points to 66.5% last month. The airline said yesterday it would resume year-round services from Shannon to the US for the first time since 2009 after replacing Airbus A330 jets with the smaller Boeing 757 planes

*** Shares in Twitter fell by 12% last night after it reported a net loss of $645m for 2013. This comes just three months after it floated on the New York Stock Exchange. Its share price had more than doubled since November, when it was valued at around $18 billion. The loss was expected, but a slow growth in user numbers is now a big concern for investors. Twitter averaged 241 million monthly users in the last three months of the year, up just 3.8% on the previous three months, and that represents a slowdown compared with a growth rate of 10% seen at the beginning of last year.

*** Walt Disney has reported record earnings for the last three months of 2013, boosted by higher revenues from its films business. Frozen, which has passed The Lion King as Disney Animation's highest grossing film, has taken more than $864m in box office receipts around the world.