NEW YORK – Startup GeneCapture said on Wednesday that it and subcontractor Canvas have been awarded a $250,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract from the US Defense Health Agency (DHA) for feasibility testing of the firm's infection diagnostic (ID) and antibiotic susceptibility test (AST).
The DHA seeks to determine whether GeneCapture's rapid and portable ID and AST platform would allow medical providers of all skill levels to treat bacterial infections with the appropriate antibiotics. The agency is specifically interested in Enterococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species, and Escherichia coli¸ which it noted all contribute to world-wide antimicrobial resistance.
Huntsville, Alabama-based GeneCapture's Confirm Active Pathogens Through Unamplified RNA Expression (CAPTURE) platform rapidly identifies a pathogen's RNA in a patient's liquid sample from a custom library of probes on a microarray. The firm's platform will also include the AST assay, which offers rapid on-site testing of various antibiotics once the single or mixed pathogens have been identified.
GeneCapture highlighted that it has designed both assays to operate in remote environments without refrigeration or lab infrastructure.
GeneCapture said that subcontractor Canvas brings software development, artificial intelligence and machine learning, image processing, and microbiology expertise to support the firm in developing pathogen fingerprints from the Capture assay data.
"Wound infections can be fatal. DHA is seeking to address this problem with novel solutions that combine identifying the pathogen and determining which antibiotic works best, both right at the point of care," Paula Millirons, chief scientist of GeneCapture, said in a statement.