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Smiths Detection to Use $1M Grant for Molecular Sepsis Test Program

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Smiths Detection has won a $1 million grant over two years from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to develop a test for microbes that cause infections in burns and wounds that can lead to blood poisoning.

The London-based company will use the funds to expand an ongoing collaboration with the University of California, Davis – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Point-of-Care Technologies Center that is focused on pathogen detection for critical, emergency, and disaster care.

The company will use its LATE PCR nucleic acid amplification and detection technology, which it licensed from Brandeis University, to develop the test.

The test for eight microorganisms that can cause sepsis in burn and wound patients will run on the firm's Clinical Bio-Seeq platform. UC Davis Medical Center will validate the assay and will evaluate its performance with the Bio-Seeq platform in an intensive care unit setting.

"We know from formal needs assessment surveys that physicians want highly sensitive and fast detection of bloodstream and wound pathogens in critical care settings, so we believe this collaboration will provide invaluable new diagnostic information for bedside decision making in the US as well as in low-resource countries," explained Gerald Kost, director of the POC Technology Center, in a statement.

According to the company, more than 750,000 Americans develop sepsis each year, and it is the leading cause of death in non-coronary intensive care units. Patients with more than 20 percent burn coverage have a 97 percent risk of developing a wound infection. In such cases, the chance of contracting full sepsis increases the longer it takes to identify the cause of infection, Smiths Detection said.

Last month, the privately held firm won a $2.2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a highly multiplexed LATE-PCR assay for pandemic flu, which also will run on the Clinical Bio-Seeq System.

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