FUNDING

ID Genomics Receives $3 Million NIH Grant to Develop Antibiotics Screening Test

Seattle-based startup laboratory ID Genomics has received a nearly $3 million federal grant to compile a database of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be used to create a “barcode” test that would diagnose specific bacterial infections and suggest choices of antibiotics, all within a 30-minute time window.

“We are honored that the NIH believes so strongly in our research and the incredible opportunity it presents,” said Evgeni Sokurenko, M.D. chief executive officer of ID Genomics and a professor of microbiology at the University of Washington.

The grant was given by NIH’s Small Business Technology Transfer program.

The test being developed by ID Genomics is intended to address a growing issue in U.S. health care delivery: an increasing number of bacterial infections that are resistant to the current inventory of antibiotics. Up to 30 percent of current prescriptions for antibiotics fail to treat the infection due to resistance. This forces the patient to return for another round of a different medication. The delay in receiving the correct treatment can drag out the illness and potentially endanger the patient. Meanwhile, the multiple rounds of antibiotics drive up bacterial resistance to the drug even further.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance costs the country’s health care system $20 billion per year and adds 8 million patient days to hospital stays annually. The loss of productivity from patients with prolonged illnesses costs another $35 billion.

“Within the same bacterial species are individual ‘crime families,’ each of which has its own antibiotic resistance profile,” Sokurenko said. “When doctors see a certain ‘criminal’ in the clinic, our technology will help them identify the associated antibiotic rap sheet and so choose the best treatment option.”

ID Genomics has not said when such a test might become commercially available, or its potential retail price.

Takeaway: ID Genomics is receiving an enormous opportunity to develop a test that could help aid providers in the fight against bacterial resistance to antibiotic medications.

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