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Genedrive and partners awarded grant for development of new test

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 20 Jun 2018

Genedrive and partners awarded grant for development of new test

(Sharecast News) - Near-patient molecular diagnostics company Genedrive announced the receipt of a multi-partner grant award from the UK National Institute for Health Research's Invention for Innovation programme on Wednesday, for the development and implementation of a point-of-care pharmacogenetic test to avoid antibiotic-related hearing loss in newborn children.
The AIM-traded firm said that, due to an identified genetic predisposition, certain individuals developed irreversible hearing loss when exposed to gentamicin - an antibiotic used to treat several types of bacterial infections.

In the UK, around 90,000 babies per year were treated with gentamicin on intensive care units.

Genedrive said antibiotic treatment should start within the first hour after admission, but current lab-based genetic tests were not able to return actionable results within that time frame.

A Genedrive test was targeted to allow genetic results to be available within an hour, allowing alternative antibiotics to be used, and thus avoiding the potential life changing adverse reaction to gentamicin.

The project was expected to commence immediately, with an expected development phase of one year followed by a trial implementation phase in selected NHS hospitals in the second year.

Genedrive said it would then target the release of a test within the NHS and more broadly.

It said the project represented an "important landmark" for the company's Genedrive platform, as it was the first potential application outside of the low- and middle-income markets targeted with current HCV and mTB programmes.

The board said it expected to account for its £0.55m share of the project funding as income which would be matched to costs incurred over the two-year project.

It said the exact amount and timing of the income was expected to be finalised shortly by the signing of a collaboration agreement.

The consortium would be led by William Newman, professor of translational genomic medicine at the University of Manchester and consultant at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Genedrive said the team included partners from Liverpool and Manchester neonatal intensive care units, and was working closely with parents of children previously treated on intensive care units.

"We look forward to working with genedrive and our colleagues in Manchester and Liverpool to assess the impact of rapid genetic testing as a method of avoiding irreversible hearing loss in babies treated with antibiotics," said Professor William Newman.

"Successful implementation would be a first in the integration of a rapid decision making, genetic-based diagnostic in the UK NHS."

David Budd, chief executive officer of Genedrive, added that the application of Genedrive in an urgent healthcare setting was an "excellent example" of how a rapid, affordable, point-of-care test could impact patient treatment and quality of life.

"The NHS is a huge market place and, if adopted, this would be the first placement of Genedrive in a developed world healthcare setting," Budd explained.

"The project is an exciting opportunity to expand the markets in which Genedrive is used."

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