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UCSF

Following the launch of its urine-based Qsant assay later this year, the firm plans to develop updated versions of it with new biomarkers for different disease indications.  

The contract was awarded under DARPA's Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies program, which aims to create a device to detect at least 10 pathogens.

The two new tests, which have the capability to quantify a patient's viral load, have been designed without external RNA extraction or amplification steps.

The company believes its tests can already help oncologists better assess post-surgery risk, though prospective validation would be necessary for broad claims.

Researchers analyzed the performance of a dozen SARS-CoV-2 serology assays on samples from COVID-19 patients, patients with other disease, and pre-pandemic samples.

UCSF's test, developed with Mammoth Biosciences, uses CRISPR technology, while the tests from the Broad Institute and BioSewoom are PCR-based.

The researchers said their assay can be run in 30 to 45 minutes, with 95 percent positive predictive agreement and 100 percent negative predictive agreement.

The San Francisco-based startup believes that its QiSant assay could help guide the use of immunosuppressive drugs and other therapies to prevent kidney transplant rejection.

The partners' "COVID-19 task force" will invest in ePlex molecular testing platforms from GenMark Diagnostics to quadruple UCSF's testing capacity.

Proscia said that the collaboration will focus initially on prostate cancer and then expand to several cancer subspecialties.

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