Affymetrix granted Tessarae nonexclusive access to its microarray technology to develop and market tests that will help researchers better respond to biodefense and pandemic infectious disease threats.
The transaction is part of the Powered by Affymetrix™ program. Tessarae will use Affymetrix’ TessArray™ kits, which simultaneously detect and identify hundreds of strains of natural and emergent viral and bacterial pathogens as well as biothreat agents.
Using these kits, Tessarae president and co-founder, Klaus Schafer, M.D., says that "investigators at collection sites can determine whether detected pathogen strains warrant elevated epidemic or pandemic concerns. The TessArray kits enable a level of strain and substrain discrimination not possible with other array-based methodologies as well as the ability to detect and characterize novel nucleotide changes in the pathogen genome sequence at the same time."
Traditional microbial detection and identification is based on phenotypic traits, such as the organism's ability to grow on certain carbon sources or catalyze the conversion of specific substrates, the companies note. The TessArray kits, on the other hand, are based on multiplexed genotypic signatures present on the Affymetrix CustomSeq® Resequencing Arrays. These arrays have been designed to detect a set of upper respiratory pathogen-specific target sequences provided by the United States Naval Research Laboratory.
"The new Affymetrix microarray-based TessArray kits represent common viral and bacterial pathogens associated with acute respiratory disease and pneumonia as well as biothreat agents that can elicit similar respiratory symptoms," states Clark Tibbetts, Ph.D., co-founder and CTO at Tessarae. "For example, the TessArray RPM-Flu Kit detects and distinguishes avian H5N1 from other influenza strains and respiratory pathogens and simultaneously identifies any known or previously unknown mutations that may elevate strain virulence and pandemic risk. A single-specimen, single-test, same-day result is a significant breakthrough for real-time global epidemiology."