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BioMérieux to Distribute Specific Diagnostics' Rapid AST Platform in Europe

NEW YORK – BioMérieux will distribute Specific Diagnostics' antibiotic susceptibility testing platform, the Specific Reveal Rapid AST system, through its distribution network in Europe, the firms said Tuesday.

The Marcy l’Etoile, France-based firm will also invest $10 million to support commercial activities through a convertible promissory note, according to a statement.

BioMérieux announced an initial partnership agreement with Specific Diagnostics in its fourth quarter 2020 earnings report. It also holds around 8 percent of the share capital of Specific Diagnostics through participation in its Series A funding round in 2019.

The Specific Diagnostics Reveal Rapid AST platform, which obtained the CE-IVD mark in October, uses a proprietary volatile organic compound metabolomic signature technology to yield drug susceptibility information for bloodstream infections within five hours directly from positive blood cultures.

Rapid bacterial sepsis testing engenders potential de-escalation to an appropriate lower-cost therapy, or escalation to a more effective drug in cases in which a multidrug-resistant infection is present, the firms said.

Mountain View, California-based Specific's Reveal Rapid AST consists of a small footprint instrument and a targeted menu. It can potentially complement BioMérieux's suite of systems delivering rapid results, the two firms noted, including the BACT/ALERT Virtuo blood culture system, rapid identification with either Vitek MS Prime or BioFire BCID2, and the Vitek 2.

"By combining the advanced technology of the Reveal Rapid AST solution for bloodstream infections with our own solutions, we are increasing the ability of laboratories to deliver results in record time, especially in cases of very critical infections such as sepsis, which require urgent and appropriate treatment," said Mark Miller, BioMérieux's chief medical officer.

Specific has also been funded by approximately $3.4 million from the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, a global partnership funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as well as $12.5 million in venture capital funding from Telegraph Hill Partners.

Earlier this year, Specific announced it had entered a four-month evaluation for its platform with the French National Reference Centre for Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales at Bicêtre Hospital, Paris.

"Every lab we encounter wants rapid, easy-to-use susceptibility testing at the right price," said Specific Diagnostics CEO Paul Rhodes. "We couldn't reach them all without partnering with an organization with the scale and quality of BioMérieux."