To advance detection and treatment of sepsis, Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), a global nonprofit dedicated to antibacterial research and development, is teaming up with Baebies to fund development of a rapid diagnostic platform for neonatal sepsis. CARB-X is granting Baebies an initial $3.9 million for the project.
With research showing that sepsis kills nearly 1.4 million children each year, the partners aim to detect early signs of bacterial infection in newborns. The Baebies platform will analyze a small blood sample for infection using digital microfluidics technology. If an infection is found, the platform will have the ability to identify within about 15 minutes which pathogen is causing it, as well as any antibiotic sensitivity that could interfere with treatment. In addition, the platform will be able to measure expression levels of various genes from 125µL of whole blood to detect different causes of inflammatory responses.
In a separate initiative, CARB-X is providing up to $3.6 million to Novel Microdevices for a rapid molecular test to diagnose sexually transmitted bacterial infections. Novel Microdevices’ recently developed Novel Dx system provides healthcare professionals with an easily accessible point-of-care diagnostic that can produce testing results in just 25 minutes. Patients would add a disposable cartridge containing either a vaginal swab or urine sample to the 4-pound, portable device to analyze the genetic sequence of cells to identify infections such as Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Since the launch of CARB-X in 2016, the company has granted 83 various awards of over $3 million. Both Baebies and Novel Microdevices have the potential to receive additional funding if specific milestones are met.
COMPANIES LAUNCH SARS-COV-2 POOLED TESTING FOR SCHOOLS
Dascena Labs and Concentric by Ginkgo are partnering to offer low-cost pooled testing for students and staff in K-12 schools. The companies will combine Dascena Labs’ efforts in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing with Concentric’s expertise in pooled testing to ensure safe learning environments as schools begin to reopen.
Dascena, a company that focuses on developing machine learning algorithms for early disease detection, launched Dascena Labs specifically to aid in SARS-CoV-2 testing. The subsidiary offers PCR testing to patients through its sample collection sites across the U.S. Since its launch in late 2020, Dascena Labs has processed more than 720,000 patient samples. Similarly, Concentric by Ginkgo is the biosecurity and public health effort formed by Ginkgo Bioworks to offer affordable pooled testing in several states across the U.S.
The companies plan to offer services to all schools in the country. According to the partners, each school that registers for pooled testing will be mailed all necessary materials needed for testing, scanning, and shipping back. Each classroom will be able to test up to 25 samples at once, with results returned in 48 hours.
SANFORD HEALTH TEAMS WITH CONGENICA FOR RAPID RARE DISEASE DETECTION
Sanford Health and Congenica are joining forces on a genetic testing program focused on providing better outcomes for patients suffering from rare diseases.
Congenica will offer its Congenica Express platform for rapid and accurate whole genome analysis in just minutes. Through automation and artificial intelligence, Congenica Express works to identify, classify, and analyze genetic variants that have previously been identified in disorders, which according to the company is 75% of variants. The platform also has the ability to add new genetic information to the existing knowledge base for future automation.
Research shows that more than 300 million individuals are living with a rare disease, with half that population being children. On average, it can take roughly 5 years from the time a patient first sees a healthcare professional about a mysterious symptom to the time an accurate diagnosis is processed. Through their partnership, Sanford Health and Congenica aim to reduce this turnaround time from years to weeks. By partnering with Sanford Health, United Kingdom-based Congenica will also have the opportunity to expand its global network and offer services in the U.S.
HOLOGIC ACQUIRES MOBIDIAG STARTUP FOR $795 MILLION
Hologic and Mobidiag have signed an agreement under which Hologic will acquire the private startup company for approximately $795 million. Through the acquisition, Hologic will expand commercialization of Mobidiag products and services across the U.S.
Mobidiag, a biotechnology company that specializes in molecular diagnostic solutions, will allow Hologic to gain access to its collection of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based tests and platforms for acute care conditions such as gastrointestinal infections, antimicrobial resistance management, healthcare associated infections, respiratory infections, and sepsis. Mobidiag’s platforms offer rapid turnaround times of 2 hours maximum through automated test analysis. The company’s Novodiag platform combines real-time PCR and microarray abilities to identify multiple pathogens in a single sample. In a statement, Hologic says it will invest in further assay development to advance use of the Novodiag platform.
“Acquiring Mobidiag will further strengthen our international and diagnostics businesses by enabling us to expand into the large, fast-growing acute care adjacency with a near-patient testing solution that offers ease of use, multiplex capability, and rapid turnaround time,” said Jan Verstreken, group president, international at Hologic.
DIASORIN, LUMINEX SIGN $1.8 BILLION ACQUISITION DEAL
After a unanimous approval from the company’s board of directors, DiaSorin announced acquisition of Luminex Corporation for $37 per share or a total of roughly $1.8 billion in an all-cash transaction.
Luminex specializes in development, manufacture, and commercialization of biological testing products and has a rapidly growing portfolio of multiplexing technology. According to the companies, the acquisition will allow DiaSorin to gain access to Luminex’s molecular diagnostics multiplexing technology to complement its existing products. The deal also aims to establish opportunities for future partnerships in the life sciences industry, expand DiaSorin’s network in the U.S. while also broadening international access to Luminex’s technology, and generate high values for shareholders.
“Together, DiaSorin and Luminex will provide a unique offer to laboratories, researchers, clinicians, and patients worldwide, matching our extensive solutions in immunodiagnostics and molecular diagnostics with Luminex’s outstanding expertise in multiplexing technology and recognized leadership in life science applications. We look forward to having DiaSorin and Luminex employees working together for an exciting new journey,” said Carlo Rosa, CEO of DiaSorin.