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LexaGene, Ethos Discovery to Develop Veterinary Infectious Disease Panels

NEW YORK – Molecular diagnostics company LexaGene said on Thursday that it has partnered with Denver-based Ethos Discovery to expand the test menu offerings on LexaGene's automated, multiplexing PCR-based MiQLab pathogen detection system.

As part of the collaboration, Ethos Discovery will provide consulting services for the identification of relevant targets in each panel based on disease prevalence, the magnitude of the unmet need, and alignment with the MiQLab technology.

Beverly, Massachusetts-based LexaGene said that the groups will initially focus on developing panels for severe pneumonia, diarrhea, and effusions. The panels will include additional tests for bacterial species not covered in the firm's canine urinary tract infection panel, as well as new tests for viruses, protozoa, fungi, and other disease targets.

LexaGene will develop the assays for each of the target organisms and antimicrobial markers, followed by clinical validation at Ethos Veterinary Health's Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital. The group aims to launch a validation trial for the pneumonia panel later in the second half of the year.

LexaGene noted that the group selected the diseases because of the clinical importance of correctly identifying the cause of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, in addition to the need for rapid differential diagnosis.

"It is very important for LexaGene to continually invest in developing new tests so that the MiQLab can be used as a valued point-of-care instrument that can serve a diversity of unmet needs in veterinary medicine," Jack Regan, CEO and founder of LexaGene, said in a statement. "Our goal is to make shipping samples for disease testing to a reference laboratory a business model of the past, as this type of testing should really be done inside the clinic where fast time to result has the biggest impact on the quality of care and patient outcomes."

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We strongly feel that in-clinic PCR-based disease testing is the future for veterinary medicine," Chand Khanna, president of Ethos Discovery, added. "These new disease-specific panels will greatly increase the utility of the MiQLab in the hospital, and I would expect these additional offerings will encourage many veterinary practices to adopt the technology."