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Cepheid Partners with AstraZeneca, GSK, Cubist to Develop Rapid Dx for Drug-Resistant Pathogens

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Cepheid is collaborating with AstraZeneca, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline to develop a rapid diagnostic test that can analyze multi-drug resistant pathogens and help doctors prescribe the most beneficial antibiotics for patients.

Cepheid is currently developing the Xpert Carba-R test for assessing bacteria from rectal swab samples. The goal of the consortium is to enable the test to also analyze a variety of other biological samples, such as respiratory samples from pneumonia patients.

Cepheid's Xpert Carba-R detects carbapenemase-producing Gram-negative bacteria in about one hour and runs on the company's GeneXpert system. Earlier this week the company announced the launch of the test in Europe as a CE-marked in vitro diagnostic. The company is targeting a 2015 US launch for the test, following regulatory approval.

A 2013 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimates that up to 50 percent of antimicrobial agents prescribed in the US are unnecessary or ineffective as prescribed, leading to the development of pathogen resistance in patients to existing therapy. More than 2 million people in the US annually get a bacterial infection that is resistant to one or more drugs intended for its treatment.

"To make sure we do not go back to the pre-antibiotic era where simple infections were very dangerous and many current hospital procedures and treatments would be impossible, we need to more effectively use the antimicrobials we have and we need to develop new medicines," Linda Miller, director of diagnostics and clinical microbiology for GSK's antibacterial R&D, said in a statement. "Accurate, rapid, easy to use diagnostic tests that can identify infecting pathogens directly from a patient sample will alter the way we treat bacterial infections by allowing us to enhance the efficiency of clinical trials and provide physicians with test results prior to making critical treatment decisions."