Sequella Receives NIH Grant for B-SMART™ Program
News Sep 15, 2008
Sequella, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on commercializing products to treat diseases of epidemic potential, has announced that it has received a $244,000 one-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The grant will fund the Sequella Biological System for Molecular Antibiotic Resistance Testing (B-SMART™) research program to develop a phage-based nucleic acid amplification diagnostic assay for detection of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB).
The core B-SMART™ technology uses bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) to probe the metabolic capacity of small numbers of bacteria in a clinical sample exposed to one or more antimicrobials. The specific gene(s) responsible for pathogen resistance do not need to be known for the assay to identify antibiotic resistance: resistance is identified by a unique molecular sequence produced by the phage itself as it replicates.
B-SMART™ is said to be the first technology that marries the accuracy of functional drug susceptibility assays with the speed and sensitivity of molecular diagnostic technologies. For many slow-growing pathogens, B-SMART™ could potentially provide simultaneous reporting of microbial identification and drug susceptibility in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks, the company claims.
B-SMART™ is intended to be fully automatable and amenable to multiplexing. This technology is expected to finally integrate molecular diagnostic technologies into every aspect of clinical microbial detection and evaluation, as well as create new tools for the treatment and management of infectious diseases.