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Inflammatix Inks BARDA Contract for up to $72M

NEW YORK – Inflammatix said Thursday that it has inked a contract worth up to $72 million with the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to further develop and commercialize its sample-to-answer HostDx molecular testing system.

Burlingame, California-based Inflammatix will receive $6 million in the first phase of a cost-sharing contract worth up to $72 million based on achieving certain milestones.

The HostDx platform uses machine learning algorithms to analyze gene expression patterns associated with immune system health and provides test results in less than 30 minutes at the point of care. It uses isothermal assays for rapid quantitation of mRNA expression from patient samples.

The firm said in the first phase of the contract it will further develop its HostDx Fever test, which analyzes gene expression patterns in the immune system to quickly identify whether a suspected infection is bacterial or viral, enabling physicians to quickly and accurately determine whether to prescribe antibiotics. Inflammatix said its fever test will run from a fingerstick blood sample and be used mainly in primary care, urgent care, and other outpatient clinical settings.

Getting the right treatments to the right patients is key to combating antibiotic resistance, "which is one of the most pressing public health challenges of our time," Inflammatix Cofounder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. An estimated 30 percent of antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed to patients with infections because their infections are not obviously bacterial or viral in origin, Inflammatix noted.

The firm said the BARDA contract may optionally support two additional Inflammatix tests — HostDx Sepsis and HostDx FeverFlu.

HostDx Sepsis is a blood-based test that will rapidly diagnose infections in patients in the emergency department or other hospital settings and determine which patients are likely to have or develop sepsis.

HostDx FeverFlu will be performed on nasal swab samples and combine traditional influenza testing with host-response biomarkers, the firm said.