The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in the US has signed a licensing agreement with integrated diagnostics firm Advanced Biological Laboratories (ABL) to market its tuberculosis (TB) test technology.
The DeepChek-TB test is currently available for research use only.
ABL will distribute a compact and portable diagnostic model that can be used clinically for determining the appropriate treatment for individual TB patients.
Based on next-generation sequencing, the test detects drug-resistant TB among mixed infections. DeepChek-TB is said to take two to three days to complete while existing tests require six to nine weeks.
It is a precision medicine test designed to provide specific treatment information for each patient.
TGen Pathogen and Microbiome division co-director David Engelthaler said: “Significantly, our TB assay technology holds the potential to provide doctors, even those in relatively rural settings, a quick and economical way to accurately determine the exact drugs that can and can’t be used for each patient.”
Under the terms of the licensing agreement, ABL will be able to distribute the DeepChek-TB test through its network of clinicians and distributors in more than 80 countries.
ABL founder and CEO Chalom Sayada said: “We look forward to making the DeepChek-TB test available to our global network immediately, and expect strong demand for this test from leading research facilities worldwide.”
TGen noted that the test could help achieve the target of a 95% reduction in TB deaths and a 90% decrease in new cases by 2035.
Data shows that nearly one-fourth of the global population is infected with TB, which is estimated to be responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each day.
The disease is a public health threat in developing nations and continues to rise in certain regions as mutant strains of the TB-causing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, become resistant to existing drug treatments.
Engelthaler added: “Drug-resistance occurs when the wrong antibiotics are prescribed at the wrong time. This new approach is designed to not only help doctors better treat patients but also to help slow or stop the global threat of multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.”