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ABL, University Hospitals Collaborate on NGS HIV Drug Resistance Assay

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University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center has signed an agreement with Advanced Biological Laboratories (ABL), to join efforts on the designing and validation of an HIV drug resistance and tropism assay based on next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Under the agreement, UH will begin using ABL’s DeepChek® analysis software with DEEPGEN™HIV, the HIV diagnostic test invented at University Hospitals’ Translational Laboratory by Miguel Quinones-Mateu, PhD, Scientific Director at the UH lab and Assistant Professor at the Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The new test will be offered as “DEEPGEN™HIV, powered by DeepChek®.”

The combined DEEPGEN™HIV/ DeepChek® test will aid monitoring the success of anti-HIV treatment by determining drug resistance and the ability of the virus to infect different cells based on deep genetic sequencing.  It will also provide a sensitive platform for HIV physicians and researchers, both in the academia and industry, to detect minority variants at frequencies unimaginable with standard HIV genotypic tests based on Sanger (population) sequencing.  

“Although the clinical relevance of these minority members of the viral population is still under debate, it is reasonable to assume that the earlier these mutant viruses are detected, the sooner the proper strategy can be defined to control their growth,” said Dr. Quiñones-Mateu.  “DEEPGEN™HIV is now the primary HIV genotyping assay used by HIV physicians at the Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, and it is being distributed nationally by a major clinical laboratory. This agreement with ABL will expedite the use of this innovative and highly sensitive assay worldwide, which will allow us to enhance the care and treatment of HIV-infected individuals around the globe.”

“I am excited about our relationship with ABL, as it appears to be a natural synergy that we both may leverage to expand the quality of diagnostic testing and care provided to patients with HIV internationally,” said Ronald E. Dziedzicki, Chief Operating Officer at UH Case Medical Center.

“Our relationship with UH Case Medical Center enables ABL to offer an innovative and potential game changer HIV assay,” said Chalom Sayada, PhD, ABL’s Chief Executive Officer. “Similarly to how ultra-sensitive HIV viral load introduced an entirely new concept to manage and monitor HIV patients under treatment, the combined DEEPGEN™HIV/ DeepChek® test, by facilitating the analysis of minor and major variant viral populations, could radically improve HIV patient disease management. We are very pleased to include this agreement as part of our strategy and industrial efforts in the US market and worldwide.”