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CARB-X Commits up to $13.8M to Novel Microdevices for Point-of-Care STI Test

NEW YORK — Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) said on Tuesday that it has committed up to $13.8 million in funding to Novel Microdevices to support the company's development of a point-of-care test for sexually transmitted bacterial infections.

Baltimore-based Novel Microdevices is developing a battery-operated, sample-to-answer instrument called Novel Dx that is designed to perform molecular testing. Samples from untreated patients are loaded into a disposable cartridge with results available in about 20 minutes. The initial focus is on CLIA-waived, point-of-care chlamydia and gonorrhea testing.

CARB-X said that it will provide Novel Microdevices with up to $3.6 million in nondilutive funding to help advance a test that would detect chlamydia and gonorrhea in a vaginal swab or urine sample, as well as detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria including one resistant to ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins.

CARB-X said it will provide up to an additional $10.2 million to Novel Microdevices based on certain, undisclosed development milestones.

"Treating gonorrhea is challenging and in some cases not possible because Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of gonorrhea, has developed resistance to most existing antibiotics," Erin Duffy, R&D chief at CARB-X, said in a statement. "Novel's technology is in the early stages of development and, if successful, could be used world-wide to help health-care providers diagnose gonorrhea, including resistance markers, more rapidly, thus improving treatment decisions, and mitigating the devastating effects of these diseases."

CARB-X, an international nonprofit founded in 2016 to fund the development of new antibiotics and other products to combat drug-resistant bacteria, awarded $6.2 million to Day Zero Diagnostics about a year ago.