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CDC Awards Aptagen $988K for Pork Tapeworm Test

NEW YORK – Aptagen announced on Thursday that it has been awarded a two-year, $988,300 Small Business Innovation Research award from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a diagnostic test for human carriers of pork tapeworm.

Aptagen is developing the aptamer-based test to leverage aptamers to prevent neurocysticercosis, which it said is the leading cause of adult-onset epilepsy in the developing world. The infection is caused by eating undercooked pork or drinking water that contains tapeworm eggs. There are 50 million total cases of pork tapeworm, resulting in 50,000 deaths annually, it added. 

G. Thomas Caltagirone, president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Aptagen, said in a statement that the firm delivered promising results in a Phase I preliminary study and were invited to continue work in Phase II development of its assay.