SpeeDx Partners with Nepean Hospital to Commercialise Respiratory Virus Host Biomarker Assay
Test will be deployable to support risk-based management of COVID-19, Influenza and other severe respiratory disease
SYDNEY--(Business Wire / Korea Newswire) November 10, 2020 -- SpeeDx Pty. Ltd., a developer of innovative molecular diagnostic solutions, has partnered with researchers from Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District’s (NBMLHD) Nepean Hospital in an exclusive agreement to commercialise a host gene expression biomarker test for respiratory viral illness. Expression of the patented biomarker, IFI27, as discovered by NBMLHD Drs Anthony Maclean, Benjamin Tang and colleagues, is strongly correlated with disease progression in Influenza and COVID-19 patients. The commercial assay will be positioned to support clinicians facing difficult triage or patient management decisions, supporting risk-based stratification of patients presenting with respiratory viral illness, including COVID-19.
“Host biomarkers are important indicators of a patient’s response to an infection,” said Professor Maclean, from the Nepean Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. “Markers linked to viral specific immune responses, such as IFI27 - an interferon stimulating gene - are particularly informative. When they get switched on, it tells all the other immune cells to come and fight the virus. Levels of this specific marker, measured in the blood, have been shown to be directly correlated to progression of respiratory viral illness.”
The SpeeDx biomarker test utilises newly patented InSigniaTM technology that enhances the measurement of gene expression and is designed to run on standard laboratory equipment, allowing for expedited development and rapid adoption in high- and low-throughput hospital settings.
“The availability of a simple diagnostic test that can accurately differentiate viral from bacterial causes of pulmonary disease, using a single-gene host biomarker, would transform patient management,” said Dr. Charles Cartwright, SpeeDx VP of Scientific Affairs. “Coupled with a pathogen detection assay and other disease indicators, this test can not only stratify patients based on risk of adverse disease progression, changes in the level of biomarker over time can inform more accurate prognoses and guide ongoing patient management decisions.”
Founded in 2009, SpeeDx is an Australian-based private company with subsidiary offices in Austin and London, and distributors across Europe. SpeeDx specializes in molecular diagnostic solutions that go beyond simple detection to offer comprehensive information for improved patient management. Innovative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology has driven market-leading multiplex detection and priming strategies. Product portfolios focus on multiplex diagnostics for sexually transmitted infection (STI), antibiotic resistance markers, and respiratory disease. For more information on SpeeDx please see: https://plexpcr.com
About Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District is well placed to draw on over 100 years of continuously caring for the community, conducting research and delivering innovation. The Nepean Hospital Intensive Care Unit is part of NBMLHD’s 5,700-strong staff. Being on the frontline of health means NBMLHD has a focus on practical solutions that deliver maximum impact to the health and wellbeing of patients and their families.
 Tang BM et al. Eur Respir J. 2017 Jun 15;49(6):1602098.
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