NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – QuantuMDx said today that it has received a £1 million ($1.6 million) grant from the UK government's Technology Strategy Board to fund a project to develop a rapid test for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
The Newcastle, UK-based molecular diagnostics company is involved in a three-year, £2 million effort to advance its Q-TB test, which will be used to analyze sputum samples for MDR-TB at the point-of-care within 15 minutes. Such a test would enable public health officials to identify areas where drug resistance is emerging and then treat those patients accordingly.
QuantuMDx said it plans to integrate its DNA analysis device and a TB biomarker panel developed by St. George's Hospital, University of London, and other partners into a test cartridge. This disposable cartridge will operate on the company's Q-POC handheld diagnostic device. It will use lab-on-chip technologies to extract, amplify, and detect the TB, and then to provide diagnostic and drug susceptibility results.
QuantuMDx Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder Jonathan O'Halloran said that current methods for testing for MDR-TB are slow and expensive.
"The only way we can effectively treat and prevent the spread of MDR-TB is to perform rapid testing at the patients' side, enabling the immediate prescription of targeted drug treatments," he said.
He also said the device is "ideal" for use in the field, and may be used with hundreds or thousands of new disease markers as they are discovered.
The company has developed three other tests for use on its Q-POC platform, including a malaria speciation and drug resistance assay, a warfarin dosing companion diagnostic, and a tumor profiling test.