NEW YORK, March 23 (GenomeWeb News) - EraGen Biosciences said yesterday that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Emory University to develop a genotyping system to detect drug-resistant HIV variants.
The project, supported by a $350,000 Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institutes of Health, will develop a system to detect HIV mutations at an early stage, allowing physicians to optimize treatment before the virus is fully drug-resistant, EraGen said.
EraGen will provide Emory with its EraGen Real-Time PCR Assay, an RT-PCR method to detect and quantitate mixed populations of closely related viral sequences. According to EraGen, the method is able to detect one copy of mutant per 10,000 wild-type RNA copies in a reaction containing 15 million total target molecules.
The company said it plans to optimize the system to detect and quantitate 17 antiretroviral-resistant HIV mutations, which confer resistance to nucleoside inhibitors of reverse transcriptase, non-nucleoside RT inhibitors, and protease inhibitors.
EraGen said it would build on prototype systems it has already developed for quantitative resistance screening to the HIV therapeutics Viread, Emtriva, and Comitia.