Boulder CO SomaLogic, Inc., announced today that it will receive a tuberculosis (TB) biomarkers grant through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative that seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world. Urs Ochsner, head of the Infectious Diseases Research Group at SomaLogic, will pursue an innovative research project to identify and validate TB biomarkers, titled "SOMAmer-based detection of tuberculosis biomarkers."
The Grand Challenges TB Biomarkers program provides funding for groundbreaking research into TB biomarkers for the development of a low-cost, simple to use tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose TB in developing countries.
"There is an urgent need to break through barriers in biomarker research in order to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases," said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope these innovative ideas lead to effective and affordable TB diagnostics that can make an impact on one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases."
Dr. Ochsner's project is one of ten Grand Challenges TB biomarkers grants announced today. "The initial applications of our SOMAscan proteomic technology to detect certain protein biomarkers of the tuberculosis bacteria have been highly promising and exciting," said Dr. Ochsner. "We are both delighted and grateful to the Gates Foundation for their recognition of the potential of this work, and for their support in helping us bring it to the point where it can make a difference in literally millions of lives."
The most beneficial diagnostic TB test would need to measure both multiple TB bacterial proteins as well as the host proteins involved in the onset and progression of the disease. In addition, it must perform effectively in the conditions in the parts of the world where TB is most often rampant. SomaLogic's breakthrough proteomic technology, based on protein-detecting reagents called "SOMAmers," provides clear advantages over current reagents and methods used in TB tests in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, stability (e.g., no need for refrigeration), ease of production and cost: In short, all of the attributes necessary to develop a POC diagnostic device for remote and resource-poor areas of the world.
In line with the Gates Foundation's Global Access policy, SomaLogic is committed to ensuring that the knowledge gained during this project is promptly and broadly disseminated, and that diagnostic tests that come from this work will be made available and accessible at a reasonable cost to the developing world.
|Contact: Fintan Steele, Ph.D.|