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Akonni Receives $435K NIH Grant to Develop MTB Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Molecular diagnostics firm Akonni Biosystems said today it has received a $435,000 grant to further develop its technology for the identification of a broad range of multi-drug resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The grant from the National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health will be used to accelerate development of Akonni's hands-free, sample-to-answer system with a goal of providing testing to underserved populations, Akonni said. In the US, a large disparity exists in the susceptibility to tuberculosis based on race and socioeconomic status, the Frederick, Md.-based firm said.

Akonni's test will be based on its TruArray gel-drop microarray technology, which gives the company the ability to investigate tens of thousands of genetic markers from a patient to identify the most common strains of MTB, said Akonni's Chris Cooney, the principal investigator on the grant.

Laboratorios Medicos Especializados in Juarez, Mexico, will collaborate with Akonni on the program to assess and verify the point-of-care prototype system.

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