Cepheid received an STTR grant of $3.3 million from NIAID for development of sample processing cartridges for rapid PCR TB detection.
“Cepheid has developed a PCR cartridge that detects the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum samples and also predicts drug resistance to rifampin in about one hour,” says David Persing, M.D., Ph.D., CMO and CTO, Cepheid. The development is also being supported by FIND, a Geneva-based non-profit organization partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The new NIAID grant will complement ongoing efforts by focusing on development of nucleic acid dyes, quenchers, interpretive software, and other technologies associated with commercial implementation of the system.
“The ultimate goal is to develop a rapid test that can be used easily in situations where hospital and culture facilities may not be available. The test is a disposable plastic cartridge that contains all the reagents necessary to carry out PCR and test for the presence of the pathogen and also to predict antibiotic resistance. A sputum sample is added to the cartridge and incubated in the GeneXpert system,” explains Dr. Persing.
“We expect that the test will be available in three to four years,” Dr. Persing adds.