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SRI International and CTK Biotech Developing Low-Cost Diagnostic for Hard-to-Diagnose Chikungunya Virus

MENLO PARK, Calif., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In parts of the world where dengue fever is common, other viral infections are often misdiagnosed. Such misdiagnosis is a waste not only of time and money. It can be especially problematic for sufferers of another mosquito-borne viral infection called chikungunya—its high fever, joint pain that can last for years, and intense headache symptoms mimic the clinical profile of dengue. Recovery from the acute phase of the infection can take from one to several months for adult and elderly victims. Misdiagnosis, combined with “silent” infections that lead to outbreaks in the community, make it difficult to quantify the actual infection numbers and develop the right public health programs.

To solve the accurate diagnosis problem, nonprofit research institute SRI International is working with CTK Biotech to develop a diagnostic assay for early detection of chikungunya that will provide results in less than 20 minutes—compared to the several hours it now usually takes. Most critically, the test will be a “point-of-care” diagnostic that won’t need expensive reagents requiring refrigeration.

“Our collaborative program focuses on developing a series of low-cost, sensitive diagnostics for neglected diseases of global importance,” said Krishna Kodukula, Ph.D., executive director of SRI’s Center for Advanced Drug Research (CADRE) in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. “With CTK, we expect to develop a diagnostic test that will be easy to use in developing nations in the battle against infectious diseases such as chikungunya.”

“We are delighted to form an alliance with SRI International to develop point of care diagnostic kits," said Catherine Chen, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of CTK Biotech. "A collaborative approach like ours, combining SRI research with CTK’s manufacturing capabilities, will result in products that will benefit people throughout the world.”

First isolated in the 1950s, chikungunya virus has been responsible for numerous outbreaks in Africa and Asia and more recently in parts of Europe. Once the CTK-SRI chikungunya test is developed and distributed, it will provide an important and low-cost public health tool that may help limit the spread of the disease to other regions. CTK Biotech and SRI will also work to develop diagnostics for other diseases.

About CTK Biotech

CTK Biotech, headquartered in San Diego, California, is an international organization focused on developing point of care diagnostic test kits. Since its inception in 1998, CTK has developed test kits and reagents for over 20 diseases that are currently distributed to more than 70 countries. Its facilities are ISO 13485 certified and in compliance with FDA QSR regulations, and its products are registered with many foreign governments and most carry the CE mark. CTK’s San Diego R&D center is a modern 10,000 sq ft facility. Genesee Biotech, the newly expanded production division of CTK located in Beijing, China is a 30,000 sq ft GMP facility, with an annual production capacity of 30 million tests. CTK has established stringent protocols for developing new product lines as well as a highly efficient product development process to rapidly convert scientific discoveries into real world diagnostic test kits. CTK follows the world trends in identifying new technology and invests heavily in finding solutions to help physicians quickly and accurately diagnose infectious diseases and meet unmet market needs.

About SRI's Biosciences Division

SRI's Biosciences Division carries out basic research, drug discovery, and drug development, and provides contract services. SRI has all of the resources necessary to take R&D from "Idea to IND”®—from initial discovery to the start of human clinical trials—and specializes in cancer, immunology and inflammation, infectious disease, and neuroscience. SRI's product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in clinical trials, and additional programs in earlier stages. In its contract research organization (CRO) business, SRI has helped government and commercial clients and partners advance many drugs into patient testing. SRI is also working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International, a nonprofit research and development organization, performs sponsored R&D for governments, businesses, and foundations. SRI brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Commemorating its 65th anniversary in 2011, SRI is known for world-changing innovations in computing, health and pharmaceuticals, chemistry and materials, sensing, energy, education, national defense, and more.

SOURCE SRI International
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