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CARB-X is funding UK-biotech GenomeKey to develop a rapid diagnostic for sepsis, a leading cause of death in hospitals

CARB-X is funding UK-biotech GenomeKey to develop a rapid diagnostic for sepsis, a leading cause of death in hospitals

SETsquared Bristol member, GenomeKey, is being awarded up to $9.5 million in grant funding by CARB-X to develop an innovative rapid diagnostic for sepsis.

The new diagnostic would significantly reduce the time it takes to determine what bacteria are causing an infection and which antibiotics would be most effective in treating a patient suffering from sepsis.

Studies show that the risk of dying from sepsis increases by as much as eight per cent for every hour that treatment is delayed. GenomeKey’s diagnostic would deliver precise test results in four hours rather than the 24 – 72 hours it can currently take. Faster diagnosis would enable appropriate treatment to be administered more quickly, a critical step for improving outcomes and saving lives

Globally, an estimated 11 million people die each year from sepsis. Recent studies report that sepsis kills at least 46,000 people per year in the UK with potential direct costs to the UK National Health System at more than £1.8 billion per year.

Dr. Michael Roberts, GenomeKey CEO, said: “The technology GenomeKey is building will enable clinicians to diagnose and treat sepsis faster, and reduce unnecessary antibiotic consumption. Sepsis can kill within hours, and yet the gold standard test for this disease currently takes days.”

“At GenomeKey, we are changing this by combining advances in DNA sequencing with our unique genomic technology and machine learning to deliver a next-generation diagnostic that will provide clinical answers in only hours, and enable clinicians to confidently put their patients on targeted antibiotics sooner.”

“The community of entrepreneurs and investors that SETsquared Bristol brings together is very supportive and one of the reasons we chose Bristol for our HQ.”

“Prompt diagnosis and treatment provide the best chance for reducing death rates and improving recovery from sepsis,” said Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X, a non-profit global partnership led by Boston University and dedicated to supporting the development of innovative therapeutics, preventatives and diagnostics to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. “GenomeKey’s innovative technology aims to accelerate diagnosis and deliver vital antibacterial susceptibility information that could take the guesswork out of treatment decisions in the first critical hours of illness.”

CARB-X funding for this research is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from the Wellcome Trust and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The contents of this news release are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, or other CARB-X funders.

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SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey