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OpGen, Merck to Co-Develop Antibiotic Resistance Dx, Informatics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – OpGen and Merck announced today that they will collaborate to develop rapid diagnostics and informatics tools for antibiotic resistance.

Under the terms of the deal, Merck will give OpGen access to its library of 200,000 bacterial pathogens in order to support OpGen's development of rapid DNA tests and a genomic database of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Merck's pathogens library has been built over the past 15 years through the Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART), a surveillance study of antimicrobial resistance supported by Merck and International Health Management Associates. OpGen will perform genomic analysis and microbiology testing for drug resistance on the samples in the Merck archive, and will incorporate this information into its Acuitas Lighthouse Knowledgebase. It will then use that information to inform the development of rapid DNA tests. The companies hope to aid clinicians in making treatment decisions for patients with blood, respiratory, urinary tract, and soft tissue infections.

Merck will also gain access to the high-resolution genotype data developed by OpGen for the SMART isolates, and will be allowed to use OpGen's Lighthouse Portal to support its own internal research and development programs.

Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"This collaboration builds upon the promise of our DNA-based genetic tests, Lighthouse Knowledgebase and antibiotic resistance decision-making tools to make a significant impact on hospital infections," said OpGen Chairman and CEO Evan Jones in a statement. "Access to Merck's SMART surveillance network data has the potential to greatly accelerate our internal development efforts in validating our rapid diagnostic tools and bolster data acquisition for our Lighthouse Knowledgebase."