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Bloodstream infection detection directly on whole blood

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R44AI124871-02A1
Agency Tracking Number: R44AI124871
Amount: $2,982,842.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAID
Solicitation Number: PA18-574
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-02-07
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-01-31
Small Business Information
Baltimore, MD 21211-2840
United States
DUNS: 078393619
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (410) 944-5000
Business Contact
Phone: (410) 944-5000
Research Institution

Bloodstream infection detection directly on whole blood
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition triggered by the presence of fungi or bacteria in the bloodstream that affects
1.3 million people each year in the United States.1 Rapid antimicrobial administration is critical for sepsis
treatment.2-4 However, the current gold standard for bloodstream infection diagnosis is blood culture (BC), which
takes one to five days.5 In order to provide physicians with the needed diagnostic information to properly treat
patients, we propose the development of an automated platform for rapid, broad and cost-effective identification
of microorganisms in whole-blood without BC. In this proposal, we will focus on the development of the
instrument and the first assay which will detect fungi directly on whole-blood.
The new platform will be based on Single Molecule Scanning (SMS), a novel sample preparation and molecular
detection method developed at Scanogen. The fungi assay (SMS-Fungi) will detect and identify the five most
common Candida species that cause bloodstream infections as well as the Cryptococcus genus. The assay will
also utilize probes that target broadly conserved sequences to detect the presence of any fungi in the whole-
blood specimen. The goal is to develop a 1-hour, accurate, broad, multiplexed, fully-automated and cost-effective
assay, that will aid physicians to start proper antifungal therapy without delay.
In phase I, we developed an assay protocol capable of detecting fungi directly in whole-blood. We tested both
specific and broad-range probes with four species of fungi commonly found in bloodstream infections. We found
that the assay is highly specific and has the high sensitivity required for the diagnosis of clinical cases with a
limit of detection (LOD) as low as 1 CFU/ml. In this project, we will complete the development of the assay
protocol by including new probes and optimizing the overall assay (Aim 1), develop a beta-prototype system
consisting of an automated instrument and disposable cartridge (Aim 2) and evaluate the new system in pilot
analytical and clinical validation studies (Aim 3). We will leverage the experience attained in the development of
a rapid assay for point of care detection of Tuberculosis currently under development at Scanogen, and work
with a multidisciplinary team that includes experts in assay development and instrument development including
the former Vice President of Engineering at Becton Dickinson, experts in fungal infection diagnosis and treatment
from Johns Hopkins University and engineers from Key Technologies.
Our goal is to develop and validate an automated molecular platform for rapid analysis of microorganisms in
whole-blood and develop its first assay for fungi detection. If successful, the new assay will dramatically improve
the management of patients with fungemia by reducing diagnostic delay and enabling timely initiation of proper
antifungal treatment.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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