Tm Bioscience and Calgary Laboratory Services Announce Collaboration on Genetic Screening Test for Staphylococcus Infection

CALGARY and TORONTO -- Calgary Laboratory Services and Tm Bioscience Corporation today announced their intention to collaborate on the development of a novel genetic test for the identification and characterization of Staphylococcus aureus (SA), particularly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in a hospital setting.

"We are excited to be working with CLS in this, our first infectious disease initiative" said Greg Hines, president and CEO of Tm Bioscience. "CLS has clearly taken aim at this infectious agent and has the research capability to advance clinical work in this area. In conjunction with Tm's Universal Array approach, we have the potential to significantly impact the health services sector's efficiency."

"SA/MRSA is a scourge in the hospital setting," said Dr. Deirdre Church, division head of microbiology for CLS. "Our studies estimate that acquisition of a SA/MRSA infection substantially increases the patient's length of stay, and some patients will also have permanent damage or even die due to this serious complication. Conservative estimates show that hospital-acquired SA/MRSA infections are currently increasing healthcare costs by millions of dollars each year. Tm's unique approach to genotyping complements the research underway to provide better, faster, and more accurate identification of this pathogen."

SA/MRSA infections are common in hospitals. MRSA is a highly infectious and difficult to treat form of Staphylococcus that can be transmitted between patients and, during an outbreak, can cause ward closures. Patients who are carriers or infected with MRSA are placed on isolation and those coming in close contact are also immediately tested. Currently, most laboratories diagnose MRSA infections using culture methods that are inefficient, have a slow turnaround time of five to seven days and are not sensitive enough to detect all cases. Although molecular methods are used routinely at CLS and other large laboratories, there are no standard commercial molecular assays available for MRSA detection. The novel test will speed up identification of SA/MRSA carriers and infected individuals, so that appropriate infection prevention and control measures and/or treatment can be started earlier.

Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) is a medical diagnostic laboratory that offers a full range of laboratory services to the Calgary Health Region and other clients in Southern Alberta, annually performing 12 million tests.

Tm Bioscience is a DNA-based diagnostics company commercializing a menu of tests for the rapidly growing genetic testing market. Tm Bioscience's product pipeline includes tests for genetic mutations related to hematology, cystic fibrosis, toxicology and other debilitating genetic disorders.

Source: TM Bioscience