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Tyrian Dx, Becton Dickinson Unable to Develop TB Test, End Collaboration

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This story originally ran on Oct. 15.

Australian firm Tyrian Diagnostics announced this week that it and Becton Dickinson have ended their collaboration to develop a point-of-care diagnostic for active tuberculosis, as neither firm was able to consistently detect Tyrian's lead protein biomarker in clinical samples at high enough sensitivity and specificity levels.

The two companies entered into a collaboration and licensing deal in July 2007 to develop and commercialize TB diagnostic tests based upon biomarkers discovered by Tyrian, formerly called Proteome Systems. This past January, Tyrian said that its lead marker had been detected in clinical strains of the bacteria responsible for TB and in clinical sputum samples. However, it was unable to detect the marker at the desired levels of sensitivity and specificity.

In May, it gave BD the rights to conduct further studies using its proprietary technology in an effort to reach sensitivity and specificity levels that would enable development of a point-of-care diagnostic. In a statement, Tyrian said BD was also unable to do so.

"We acknowledge further advances in the available technology are required for the development of a sensitive five-minute test to detect active TB," Tyrian CEO Jenny Harry said in a statement.

The company is now working with Barry Kreiswirth, director of the Public Health Research Institute TB Center at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, to validate its lead biomarker and create a sputum-based assay using existing molecular technology, the company said.

"This will pave the way for a molecular TB test to be developed in partnership with a company that offers a platform appropriate for use in TB-testing environments," it said.

On deadline, BD did not respond to a request for comment.

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