NIH / BARDA Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge names five finalists

In the race to advance tools for rapid detection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, five finalists were selected to move on to the final phase of the Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic (AMR) Challenge. These finalists will each receive $100,000 to further develop their prototypes and supply them for testing to two CLIA-certified independent laboratories. The AMR Challenge is a federal prize competition funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), with each agency contributing $10 million. Up to three winners will be chosen in July 2020 and split at least $19 million, subject to the availability of funds.  Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a rising public health threat and cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug resistance can also erode the effectiveness of drugs provided as part of a medical response to bioterrorism, such as an anthrax attack.
The ideal diagnostic tests will be able to identify and characterize antibiotic resistant bacteria or distinguish between viral and bacteria infections to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, which is a major cause of drug resistance. Prototypes should also be able to make detections rapidly, so healthcare providers can diagnose infections within hours and prescribe an effective treatment immediately.

The finalists are:

  1. Ultra-Rapid Infection Confirmation and Phenotypical AST by Microbe Mass Measurement
    Ken Babcock – Affinity Biosensors, Santa Barbara, California
  2. Single Cell Biometric Analysis for Rapid ID/AST
    Kyle Fieleke – Klaris Diagnostics, Austin, Texas
  3. Fully Automated Pathogen ID and AST Directly from Blood and Urine
    Vincent Gau – GeneFluidics, Irwindale, California
  4. Patient-side, Disposable, Molecular PCR Diagnostic Device for Neisseria Gonorrhea and Drug Resistance Markers
    Gary Schoolnik – Click Diagnostics, Inc., San Jose, California
  5. Host Gene Expression to Classify Viral and Bacterial Infection Using Rapid Multiplex PCR
    Ephraim Tsalik – Predigen, Inc., Durham, North Carolina

Final submissions from Step 2 finalists are due Jan. 3, 2020, and prototype performance will be the basis for evaluation in the final phase of the competition. Up to three winners may be announced on July 31, 2020.

Source: NIH

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