UPDATE 1-Italian top court overturns cancelling of Diasorin deal with hospital on COVID-19 tests

(Adds details, comments by Diasorin and Technogenetics)

MILAN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Italy’s top administrative court overturned a decision to cancel a contract between diagnostics group Diasorin and a hospital in northern Italy to develop a coronavirus antibody test, a ruling showed on Thursday.

Earlier this year a lower court ruled the agreement, which was challenged by Diasorin’s rival Technogenetics, had been reached without a proper public procedure, giving Diasorin a competitive advantage over other industry players.

In documents seen by Reuters the higher court said Diasorin’s contract with Policlinico San Matteo was not an exclusive deal and did not rule out other possible competitors doing their own test research work at the hospital.

Diasorin Chief Executive Carlo Rosa said in a statement that the ruling confirmed that the company had always acted in a fair and transparent way.

Technogenetics said it would assess whether to launch a legal action at a European level against the new decision.

“Technogenetics has always acted with the aim of preserving free competition, helping R&D activity on new products stemming from cooperation between public and private operators and making know-how and resources developed by public subjects available to everyone,” it said in a statement. (Reporting by Domenico Lusi Writing by Stephen Jewkes Editing by Giulia Segreti and Frances Kerry)