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Kephera Diagnostics Wins $2M NCI Grant to Complete Development of Liver Fluke Infection Test

NEW YORK — Kephera Diagnostics said on Tuesday that it has been awarded a roughly $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to continue development of a test for the parasitic worm liver fluke.

Liver fluke can infect humans who consume raw or undercooked freshwater fish, and long-term infection is associated with a form of bile duct cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. It is endemic in large parts of Asia.

According to Kephera, the test is designed to detect antibodies to specific liver fluke markers and will be developed in an ELISA format for laboratory use and a lateral flow format for point-of-care use.

The ELISA test will be offered through Kephera's CLIA lab and be aimed at people who have lived and traveled in endemic nations, including Vietnam War veterans. The lateral flow test will be geared for use in endemic regions where laboratory services are scarce.

With the NCI funding, Kephera aims to complete development of the test, obtain regulatory approvals, scale up manufacturing, and begin commercialization.

In 2019, Framingham, Massachusetts-based Kephera received $300,000 in NCI funding to advance the test.