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CARB-X Awards Day Zero Diagnostics $6.2M to Develop Rapid Antibiotic Resistance Platform

NEW YORK – Day Zero Diagnostics (DZD) has been awarded $6.2 million in non-dilutive funding from Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X).

The Boston-based startup will use the funding to further develop its diagnostic platform, which it said can detect antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections within a clinically relevant timeframe. DZD believes that the platform will allow patients with severe infections to receive the most effective antibiotic treatment on the first day of being admitted to a hospital.

DZD's diagnostic platform extracts bacterial DNA from a patient's blood sample for sequencing without needing culture steps. Its Blood2Bac sample preparation tool enriches bacterial DNA from clinical blood samples, while its proprietary machine-learning algorithm, Keynome, then analyzes the genomic data "within hours" to find the pathogen and establish its antibiotic susceptibility.

DZD will also use the funding to expand its MicrohmDB database, which integrates pathogen genomic sequences with their known antibiotic resistance and susceptibility profiles.

"Antibiotic-resistant infections can be extremely lethal, spread easily and persistently in healthcare institutions, and they continue to grow as a global threat," Jong Lee, DZD CEO, said in a statement. "We are pleased to have CARB-X's support to develop a new class of culture-free, sequencing-based diagnostics that can modernize the fight against these dangerous infections."

DZD also said that it is eligible for an additional $18.7 million from CARB-X if the project meets certain development milestones, for a total award of up to $24.9 million in cash.

"This is the first whole-genome sequencing and machine-learning technology in the CARB-X portfolio, and an exciting new diagnostic approach,” Erin Duffy, chief of research and development at CARB-X, said in a statement. “New technologies, like the diagnostic under development by Day Zero, if successful, could transform the way physicians diagnose and treat drug-resistant infections, and save lives.”

DZD previously raised $8.6 million in a Series A funding round in Jan. 2019 to develop the diagnostic platform. The firm also received a $224,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease last July to improve its "ksim" algorithm, which aims to help determine infection relatedness in suspected hospital-acquired infection outbreaks.