Curetis’ wholly-owned subsidiary Ares Genetics has secured funding from the Vienna Business Agency for the development of a prototype solution for the rapid, next-generation sequencing-based diagnosis of pathogens and associated antibiotic resistances for patients suffering from severe infections.
The total volume of the 2.5-year TRIPLE-A (assay development and artificial intelligence to diagnose Antibiotic Resistant Infections) development project amounts to EUR 1.3 million.
Vienna Business Agency is already supporting the ARES&CO Pharma Partnering Program of Ares Genetics, under which the Company recently partnered with Sandoz for the development of a digital anti-infectives platform.
Microbial infections and antibiotic resistances have become a major healthcare challenge, with antimicrobial resistance estimated to have caused 700,000 deaths globally in 2016, a number that is projected to dramatically increase to 10 million deaths annually by 2050 if no countermeasures are taken.
Ares Genetics seeks to address this challenge with a disruptive approach based on high-resolution Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology in combination with a proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI) curated genetic pathogen and antibiotic resistance (AMR) reference database, ARESdb, for result interpretation.
To this end, the Company in September 2018 has initiated the development of the ARESupa Universal Pathogenome Assay, a single diagnostic test designed to detect any pathogen and associated drug resistances from any native patient sample.
As engineering and in-silico assay design further advanced since September 2018, the TRIPLE-A project funded by the Vienna Business Agency now aims to develop a laboratory prototype of ARESupa. Therefore, Ares Genetics is currently setting up ARESlab, a dedicated R&D and diagnostic service laboratory in Vienna, Austria, for in-house test development and initial commercialization in Europe.
Ares Genetics managing director and CEO Dr Andreas Posch said: “We are combining NGS technology and advanced data analytics based on our ARESdb database, which already today allows for quantitative molecular prediction of antibiotic resistance with up to more than 98% accuracy.
“With ARESdb effectively linking genetic biomarkers to antibiotic resistance and the further advancement of NGS technology, we believe that our approach is well suited as a next generation diagnostic solution to tackle microbial infections and AMR as one of the biggest healthcare threats of the 21st century. We are also progressing in our effort to attract U.S. venture capital funding to further accelerate the development of ARESupa and its commercial deployment in the U.S. market.”
Ares Genetics managing director and Curetis chief business officer Dr Achim Plum said: “The project is supporting our strategy of capitalizing on the know-how and the comprehensive patent portfolio of Ares Genetics and the entire Curetis group for NGS-based infectious disease diagnostics.
“On the heels of the strategic collaboration agreement with Sandoz to develop a digital anti-infectives platform, we also recently initiated a technology evaluation project for ARESdb with a global diagnostics player. Both projects reflect the increasing recognition of the unique assets and capabilities of Ares Genetics and are part of our efforts to monetize them in strategic partnerships.”
Source: Company Press Release