Cepheid Awarded NIH Research Grant for Rapid Diagnostic Testing of Tuberculosis

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Cepheid announces it has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop rapid diagnostic tests for Mycobacteria tuberculosis.

The project, which is a collaborative effort between Cepheid and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), involves the development of rapid diagnostic test protocols, procedures and reagents using Cepheid's GeneXpert platform. Dr. David Alland, associate professor of medicine at the UMDNJ Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Pathogens and a nationally renowned expert in antibiotic resistance of TB, is directing the UMDNJ effort. The one-year NIH grant to Cepheid will total $376,000.

"The GeneXpert system is ideally suited to this type of test because of its speed, its automated sample processing capability, and its ability to detect multiple DNA sequences in the same reaction. This ability will allow rapid, real-time analysis of antibiotic resistance. Scheduled for market availability in 2003, the GeneXpert is designed to provide a fully automated genetic assessment result, sample in answer out," said Kurt Petersen, Cepheid president and chief operating officer.

Alland said, "Innovative methods for sample processing have lagged behind recent technological advances in DNA amplification and detection. Rapid and efficient sample processing are essential elements of truly user-friendly diagnostic assays. Cepheid's technology is ideally suited to this project. Our goal is to develop a diagnostic system for TB and drug resistant TB that can be used anywhere in the world by individuals with minimal training."

Source: PR Newswire

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