Curetis has spun out a subsidiary, Ares Genetics, to exploit a bacterial genomics database acquired from Siemens as a platform for identifying bacterial biomarkers that can be used in rapid tests for detecting antibiotic resistance, and as potential antibiotic drug targets. Curetis acquired the GEAR (genetic antibiotic resistance and susceptibility database) platform in September last year.
The GEAR genomic database contains the entire DNA sequences and sensitivity data for 21 antibiotics, more than 10,000 Gram-negative organisms and 1,000 Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus strains, responsible for pneumonia, bloodstream infections, urinary tract, gastric, and wound infections. The bacterial strains have been isolated from patient samples collected at over 200 sites, across five continents, during the last 30 years.
“GEAR will expand Curetis' content leadership with novel antibiotic resistance markers and form the basis for additional business, including clinical decision support, Pharma research or next-generation sequencing interpretation services,” stated Andreas Posch, Ph.D., one of Ares Genetics’ managing directors, who joined Curetis from Siemens last month. “We will pursue a partnership-based model for future R&D and commercialization. Our goal is to advance GEAR as a collaborative research platform for academic and translational research, public health, and industry partners. This will establish GEAR as the enabling technology platform for a broad and effective alliance against antibiotic resistances.”
“We are planning to leverage GEAR as a source for novel genetic markers to further improve the accuracy of rapid genetic tests for antibiotic resistance in life-threatening infections,” added Achim Plum, Ph.D., CCO of Curetis and Ares Genetics’ second managing director. “GEAR is a perfect fit for Curetis and will allow us to stay on top of the development of novel resistances.”
The GEAR platform was developed by Siemens in collaboration with the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB) at Kiel University, and the Clinical Bioinformatics Group of Saarland University. The Saarland Univeristy group’s head, professor Andreas Keller, Ph.D., will work with Curetis as an academic partner. Ares is situated near to the Vienna Biocenter in Vienna, Austria.
Molecular diagnostics firm Curetis was founded in 2007 to develop rapid diagnostics for severe infectious diseases. The Germany-based company’s flagship Unyvero platform and cartridge-based assays are designed to provide rapid diagnosis of severe infections, and identification of antibiotic resistance markers in hospitalized patients, within hours.
In January, the firm submitted its 510(k) application to the FDA for approval of its Unyero platform and Unyvery LRT lower respiratory tract cartridge. At the time, the firm said it was on track to launch the Unyvero system in the U.S., during 2017, and was also preparing to start an additional FDA-relevant study with its Unyvero ITI application cartridge for diagnosing joint infectious, including periprosthetic joint infectious.