Cepheid wins grant to develop ten-colour real-time PCR detection technology

27 October 2009

Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD) has announced that it has received a notice of grant award from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop new ten-colour detection technology for use in its GeneXpert System.

The $7.5 million grant will be awarded to Cepheid and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) during the planned five-year program.

When coupled with Cepheid’s virtual array technology, the new ten-color system will have the potential to simultaneously detect up to 100 different targets per sample. Cepheid’s current GeneXpert System is capable of six-colour detection, with the potential for up to 60 different targets per sample.

“This program will be primarily driven by our special chemistry capability which, along with software development, is expected to allow for completion of the program with no hardware modifications,” said John Bishop, Cepheid’s Chief Executive Officer. “Existing GeneXpert System accounts will also be able to benefit from the expanded test menu that this program should enable.”

The new ten-colour technology is expected to deliver more cost-effective infectious disease panel testing applications by increasing the total number of diagnostic results per sample. The technology will also enable the development of new, comprehensive antimicrobial resistance and oncology tests.

“The workup of many infectious conditions requires considerable guesswork on the part of clinicians, who typically order multiple individual tests for suspected etiologic agents,” said David Persing, MD, PhD, Cepheid's Chief Medical and Technology Officer.

“A ten-colour cartridge, in combination with our virtual array technology, gives us the ability to detect as many as 100 distinct targets in a single test. This feature eliminates the need for guesswork, and when performed on the GeneXpert System, will help deliver cost-effective, medically actionable results to clinicians and their patients.”

Building upon the success of Cepheid’s six-color Xpert® MTB/RIF test, clinical utility of the ten-colour system will be demonstrated through development of a new assay for multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Future GeneXpert-based tests, which apply the ten-color technology, are expected to follow.

“Our goal is to continue the transformation of the clinical mycobacteriology laboratory by making it possible to replace time-intensive and less sensitive culture processes with rapid, sensitive, and accurate molecular techniques that that are not constrained to a central laboratory environment,” said UMDNJ's David Alland, M.D.

“This dramatic increase in the number of targets we can detect with a single test will enable us to develop an assay for MDR and XDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis that will give clinicians a full panel of information, including resistance to the widest variety of treatments.”


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