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Aptitude Medical Systems Gets Gates Foundation Grant for At-Home STI Test

NEW YORK – Aptitude Medical Systems announced Tuesday that it has been awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development and commercialization of a multiplex point-of-care diagnostic test for sexually transmitted infections.

The initial funding amount is $959,500 over five months, according to the Gates Foundation website, and is intended to accelerate the commercialization of the firm's Metrix Multiplex STI panel for point-of-care and over-the-counter use. The Metrix system is one of four molecular platforms awarded Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for a COVID-19 assay, Aptitude said in a statement.

The system uses modified loop-mediated isothermal amplification chemistry combined with electrochemical detection, and the Metrix Multiplex STI panel detects Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) in about 30 minutes in order to enable rapid treatment.

"The platform's proven over-the-counter, user-friendly interface paves the way for a new generation of diagnostics that solves access to critical health information, not only in the US but especially globally where the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the critical need for accessible, rapid diagnostic tools and the role innovation plays in meeting these demands," said Scott Ferguson, CEO of Aptitude Medical Systems.

Last week, Co-Diagnostics announced it was awarded two grants totaling $2.3 million from the Gates Foundation for tests to detect tuberculosis and human papillomavirus. Sherlock Biosciences was awarded $2 million from the Gates Foundation in November, and the firm is also developing at-home chlamydia and gonorrhea infection testing.

Development of the Metrix system is also supported by a contract worth up to $53.7 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.