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PathGen Joins 'Powered by Affymetrix' Program to Expand Reach of Pathogen Detection Test

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Singapore's PathGen Dx has signed an agreement under the "Powered by Affymetrix" program under which the array firm will manufacture PathGen's pathogen-detection test, called PathChip, and distribute it globally.

PathGen, which spun out of the Genome Institute of Singapore in 2011, currently offers PathChip in Singapore for research use only. "Following the [Powered by Affymetrix] arrangement, we hope that the kit will be available (for research-use only) worldwide in the next few months," Doreen Chai, general manager of PathGen, told BioArray News via e-mail.

The company is also looking to get regulatory approval for the test worldwide and is "in discussions with the relevant parties," Chai said.

PathChip was developed to detect the presence of more than 70,000 viral and bacterial genomes in human samples and identify co-infecting pathogens. The chip is intended to replace "multiple single testing or panel testing, where a wide range of viruses are expected, such as in pneumonia cases and other infections of unknown causes," Chai said. "It offers convenience, as the researcher only needs to be proficient with one test methodology to detect a wide range of pathogens."

PathGen believes the chip will be of interest to public health labs, universities, hospitals, and pathology labs, "particularly for identifying causative infectious agents in previously negative samples and also for surveillance, identifying outbreaks, and burden-of-disease studies," Chai said.

Under the terms of the Powered by Affymetrix agreement, Affy will manufacture a custom GeneChip microarray for PathGen, and the diagnostic kit will include PathGen's proprietary reagents and an automated software package.

The Powered by Affymetrix program also provides PathGen with access to Affy's international distribution network.

Researchers at GIS began developing the PathChip in 2004. In 2008 the project secured funding from Exploit Technologies, the technology transfer arm of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology, and Research.

PathGen was recently awarded a Technology Enterprise Commercialization Scheme grant from Singapore's Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board.

Chai said that PathGen plans to raise further funding in 2013, but did not elaborate.

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