NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Sequella said yesterday that it has received a $244,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a diagnostic assay that will use nucleic acid amplification to test for drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The Rockville, Md.-based company said it will use the funds to further develop its Sequella Biological System for Molecular Antibiotic Resistance, or B-SMART, which uses bacteriophage-based technology to identify antibiotic-resistant TB in clinical samples that have been exposed to antimicrobials.
The technology identifies “a unique molecular sequence produced by the phage itself as it replicates,” the company said, making it unnecessary to know the specific gene or genes that are responsible for the resistance.
The company said that for slow-growing pathogens, the B-SMART technology “could potentially provide simultaneous reporting of microbial identification and drug susceptibility in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.”
Sequella said intends for the technology to be able to be fully automated and “amenable to multiplexing.”