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Ceres Receives $746K from Gates Foundation for TB Test Development

NEW YORK(GenomeWeb) – Sample prep firm Ceres Nanosciences said yesterday that it has received $746,000 in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a urine-based tuberculosis test.

The test, which is aimed at diagnosing active pulmonary tuberculosis, will use Ceres' Nanotrap reagents, hydrogel nanoparticles functionalized with internal affinity baits to enrich target analytes for downstream analysis.

"Existing, commercially available TB tests are limited in their ability to detect TB effectively from urine – they just aren’t sensitive enough," Ceres COO and Director of R&D Ben Lepene said in a statement. "Our goal is to increase the sensitivity 10-100 times by using the Nanotrap and integrate into a simple, user-friendly, test format – like a pregnancy test. This will enable rapid identification of infected individuals without requiring highly-trained personnel."

Ceres will collaborate with TB researchers from George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, Colorado University, and Colorado State University on the test, the company said.

 Last year, the company received a $430,000 grant from the Gates Foundation for development work on a saliva-based test for the Ebola virus.