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Kephera Diagnostics Wins $2M SBIR Grant From NIAID to Develop Zika Virus Antibody Test

NEW YORK ─ Kephera Diagnostics said on Thursday that it has been awarded a two-year, $2 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to complete the development and launch of a test for Zika virus infection.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based firm said that the grant will enable it to complete the development of its Zika virus test and conduct the clinical validations needed for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

The test is aimed at detecting Zika antibodies in a highly specific way that avoids cross-reactivity with the dengue virus.

Andrew Levin, Kephera’s CEO, said in a statement that the award "confirms the merits of our technology and assay development work over the past several years, aided by our collaborations with leading virology laboratories in Europe and the US, which have led to a highly promising new antibody test for Zika virus infection."

Having tests available for a potential resurgence of Zika, which "retreated from view after 2016 … is an important resource in the public health arsenal to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, as we are now witnessing on a large scale," he said.

The ZIka test will become part of Kephera’s portfolio of infectious disease tests that includes COVID-19 antibody and antigen tests and other assays for a range of bacterial and parasitic diseases, the firm said.