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CARB-X Funds Avails Medical Rapid AST up to $17.2M

NEW YORK – The Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) announced Monday that it will provide Avails Medical a base award of $2.5 million to support the development of rapid antimicrobial sensitivity testing, with the potential for up to $14.7 million more.

A Menlo Park, California startup founded in 2013, Avails Medical aims to identify the most effective antibiotics to treat the infection within four hours from a positive blood culture sample.

The funding will support Avails' electronic AST device which uses electronic biosensors that fit onto commercially available AST panels. Specifically, Avails Medical technology uses electrical sensors to detect small metabolic byproducts produced by microorganisms for growth detection and pathogen quantification, according to the firm's website.

The Avails eAST has 96 integrated electronic sensors in a disposable lid that would fit onto widely available AST plates. With a small benchtop footprint and high throughput, the technology could be suited for smaller hospitals and clinics, according to a statement from CARB-X.

Currently, it can take days to identify which antibiotics are most effective to a bacterial bloodstream infection.

"The Avails eAST technology aims to provide phenotypic results within four hours from a positive blood culture sample, which is critical to guide antibiotic therapy decisions especially in multi-drug resistance infections," said Oren Knopfmacher, CEO of Avails Medical in the statement.

CARB-X accelerates early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. The global non-profit partnership is led by Boston University and funding is provided in part by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is also provided by the Wellcome Trust, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the UK Department of Health and Social Care's Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with in-kind support from the US National Institutes of Health.