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Fusion Genomics Wins $1M to Assess NGS-Based Respiratory Tract Infection Assay

NEW YORK – Vancouver, British Columbia-based molecular diagnostics maker Fusion Genomics announced Thursday it has been awarded a one-year, $1 million grant from a Canadian research consortium. The funds will support a prospective clinical study using the firm's OneTest next-generation sequencing-based platform to diagnose respiratory tract infections.

The funding was awarded by the Consortium Québécois sur la Découverte du Médicament (CQDM), or Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery's Quantum Leap program. Merck is supporting the study as a member of CQDM, and Fusion Genomics will collaborate with Sunnybrook Research Institute to conduct the study, according to a statement.

Fusion Genomics has been developing cost-effective next-generation sequencing-based tests using novel DNA/RNA capture probes and informatics technologies, as previously reported. The firm claims its OneTest platform can perform NGS-based identification of any pathogen with a sample-to-results time of 12 hours.

"This study offers Fusion Genomics and our exceptional collaborators the opportunity to begin transforming the diagnosis of RTIs, and thereby reduce the tremendous burden of these infections on both patients and the hospitals that treat them," said Mohammad Qadir, president and CSO of Fusion Genomics.

The CQDM project comprises the evaluation of 800 RTI patients using an RTI-specific version of OneTest, as well as evaluation of healthy samples to help differentiate pathogenic and normal flora that colonize the respiratory system.

The study "will be the first of its kind to test a targeted NGS assay with broad coverage of upper respiratory pathogens in a hospital setting during an outbreak season," said Diane Gosselin, president and CEO of CQDM.

Fusion Genomics also noted that it is currently evaluating a rapid next-generation assay, the OneTest RAPID, for use on its platform, with an enhanced version of its probe technology providing direct sample-to-DNA-sequencing in under four hours. "The OneTest RAPID is expected to be the world's first comprehensive and rapid genomic assay for infectious disease," the firm said.