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Ares Genetics, Belgian Infectious Disease Center Partner on Computational Dx Tools

NEW YORK — OpGen said on Tuesday that its Ares Genetics subsidiary has partnered with the Belgian National Reference Centre for invasive S. pneumoniae on the development of computational diagnostic tools for Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.

Under the terms of the deal, the partners will develop and evaluate computational tools for the identification and characterization of S. pneumoniae, including predictive models for whole-genome sequencing-based antibiotic susceptibility testing (wgsAST).

Ares will use the data to expand its ARESdb antimicrobial resistance database, which includes pathogen genome data and associated data on phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility and resistance.

Vienna-based Ares, which OpGen acquired through its merger with Curetis, will also deploy its AresCloud web-based bioinformatics application at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven where the center is based to support pathogen typing, antimicrobial resistance characterization, and outbreak analysis efforts.

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We are excited to jointly demonstrate and advance the utility of antibiotic susceptibility prediction directly from genome data," Ares CEO Arne Materna said in a statement. "We welcome the collaboration with the experts at UZ Leuven tasked with the national surveillance of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Partnerships with national reference and public health laboratories allow us to aggregate current data on [antimicrobial resistance] in key pathogens, to further enrich our ARESdb, and in turn to deploy an up-to-date AI for wgsAST where it matters."

Earlier this year, Ares extended an alliance with Sandoz to develop diagnostic tools aimed at better surveilling the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.