DNA Electronics (DNAe) has secured a contract worth about $51.9m in the US to develop semiconductor DNA sequencing platform for rapid diagnosis of antimicrobial resistant infections and influenza.
The contract was awarded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) a division of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
DNAe said that both antimicrobial resistant infections and influenza result in more than 2 million suffering from infections, out of which 23,000 deaths could occur and estimated deaths between 89,000 and 207,000 deaths in the US resulting from influenza and could cost between $71.3bn to 166.5bn for the economy.
The project under which funding to DNA Electronics will be provided is the PISCES (Pathogen Identification from Specimen, via Capture Extraction and Sequencing). This will enable the company in developing and validating its Genalysis platform.
The Genalysis platform can provide the ability to sequence the DNA of infectious organism in a sealed microchip based system, with analysis that can help in identifying of the disease agent within few hours.
DNAe US office president Sam Reed said: “Our platform is truly revolutionary as it brings a powerful sequencing-based diagnostic capability into a rapid, user-friendly format.
“Importantly the platform can be operated by users who are not specially-trained in sequencing, enabling it to be used in a wide range of near-to-patient clinical environments where sequencing has not been possible before.
“Unlike existing sequencing devices, the platform operates ‘push button’ directly from raw clinical specimens such as blood or swabs, delivering a clinically-relevant report for the physician.”
The first product from DNA Electronics will be a blood-to-result diagnostic system in treating serious bloodstream infections leading to sepsis. Sepsis is a high unmet medical need, responsible for 20,000 deaths per annum in US alone.
In the later stage of development and testing, the system will be all set for commercial launch in 2018.
DNAe founder and executive chairman Chris Toumazou said: “This collaboration demonstrates the suitability of DNAe’s NGS-based platform to address a range of clinical needs, demonstrated by the applications in antimicrobial resistance and influenza testing, where there is a very high unmet need.”
Image: Chris Toumazou at DNAe's London R&D facilities. Photo: Courtesy of Business Wire.