BARDA Backs SeLux Diagnostics’ Test to Rapidly Identify Bacterial Infections

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will sponsor the advanced development of the new testing technology under an 18-month, approximately $9.3 million contract with SeLux Diagnostic, Inc of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

Selux’s Universal Synthetic Amplifier (USA) technology delivers Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (AST) results in 4 hours and leverages standard equipment to make adoption easy. The technology may reduce, from days to hours, the time needed to diagnose patients with bacterial infections and determine how well an antibiotic will work against specific infections.

Faster information to select the best antibiotic can speed a patient’s recovery, which means fewer days spent in a hospital and better outcomes for patients. The ability to match bacteria more precisely to the drugs that will combat the infection also could curb antibiotic resistant infections.

“Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health and to the health security of the United States,” said BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D. “In a bioterrorism incident, antibiotic resistant infections could be devastating. We will need innovative tools for precision medicine to save lives.”

BARDA is sponsoring the development of two test systems from SeLux.  The company’s first-generation test system may be able to provide results using bacteria isolated from patient samples 24 hours faster than current state-of-the-art methods and may be able to provide results from blood samples three days faster than the current methods. The company’s second-generation test system may be able to provide results the same day that the test is started.

The tests are designed to be used in hospital and commercial laboratories. Rapid information on bacteria and how susceptible they are to antibiotics would help doctors make earlier, better-informed decisions about how best to treat infections.

BARDA funding will support necessary work for the company to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The agreement can be extended to fund additional work up to a total of approximately $36 million through 2023.

Sources: HHS, SeLux Diagnostics, Inc.

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