GATC Biotech, Europe’s has entered into a collaboration agreement with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, the National University of Pusan and biotech company Gene In Corporation, Ltd, both in South Korea.
GATC Biotech is the Coordinating Partner of the collaboration, which aims to develop a comprehensive DNA microarray-based diagnostic test able to detect both bacterial and fungal sepsis-triggering pathogens. The project is partially funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology in Germany.
Infectious diseases, after cardiovascular diseases, are the most frequent cause of deaths in the world (WHO, 1999). Approximately 18 million cases of sepsis occur world-wide per year. The mortality rate for sepsis is 28-50%, and the associated costs are estimated at €7.6 billion. Quick and precise diagnosis of sepsis is crucial to the success of a course of a therapy. Current diagnostic processes rely on time-consuming cultivation of pathogenic microbes.
The DNA microarray-based diagnostic under development will enable the immediate detection of organism-specific nucleic acid sequences, offering the advantage of reducing the time between sample collection and diagnosis, leading to a reduction in mortality rates.
The project is one of several that connect GATC Biotech’s DNA analysis expertise with demanding medical conditions. Additional projects that GATC Biotech is contributing to include CONSERT (Concerted Safety and Efficiency Evaluation of Retroviral Transgenesis for Gene Therapy of Inherited Diseases), XENOME (detection of retroviral elements in the porcine genome), and EURESFUN (integrated post-genomic approaches for the understanding, detection and prevention of antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogens).
The Company collaborates with the Fraunhofer Institute on EURESFUN, and also partnered with the Institute on the successfully completed project IDENTIGENE (development and validation of new suitable technologies for gene expression studies to identify functional candidate genes without the use of specific DNA probes).
Peter Pohl, CEO of GATC Biotech, commented: “We are delighted to be taking part in this collaboration. With nearly two decades of experience in genetic analysis, GATC Biotech is ideally positioned to contribute to research projects relating to human health.
The clinical diagnostics field is still dominated by classic microbial procedures, involving the time-consuming cultivation of pathogenic germs. The successful development of a DNA-based diagnostic will reduce the time between sample collection and diagnosis, and will represent a huge step towards increasing survival rates for patients.”