FIND and Global BioDiagnostics Enter into Agreement to Develop POC Test for Tuberculosis

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FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), a Geneva-based not-for-profit, and Global BioDiagnostics Corp. (GBD), a US-based start-up biotechnology company formed to commercialize potentially breakthrough technology to diagnose tuberculosis (TB), announce a collaboration to develop a rapid, low-cost and simple test for the detection of active TB in a Point-of-Care (POC) setting.

Dr. Mark Perkins, Chief Scientific Officer of FIND, said "GBD’s technology offers real potential for the development of a test with utility in peripheral health settings."

FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), a Geneva-based not-for-profit, and Global BioDiagnostics Corp. (GBD), a US-based start-up biotechnology company formed to commercialize potentially breakthrough technology to diagnose tuberculosis (TB), announced a collaboration to develop a rapid, low-cost and simple test for the detection of active TB in a Point-of-Care (POC) setting.

"FIND has been extremely successful in the development of state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics for the district and sub-district level of the healthcare system over the past seven years. To complement these, we are dedicated to the development of a simple, easy-to-use, cost-effective diagnostic test for the peripheral health clinic setting," said Dr. Giorgio Roscigno, FIND's Chief Executive Officer. “Our collaboration with GBD will hopefully result in a practical tool that can be used by community health workers, allowing them to find TB patients earlier and closer to where they live. This partnership is in line with FIND's mission to develop and implement innovative diagnostics to impact poverty-related diseases and to create effective technologies that respond to patient needs at all levels of the health system."

As envisioned in the Phase 1 Co-Development Agreement signed between the parties, FIND will provide funding and development assistance for early stage development of a new POC TB test based on GBD’s innovative biophotonic detection platform that utilizes reporter enzyme fluorescence to detect TB. Dr. Jeffrey D. Cirillo, Professor, Dept. of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and Principal Investigator for GBD’s technology platform, stated that “this technology offers the potential to increase the sensitivity of detection by orders of magnitude over microscopy, the only diagnostic technology that is currently widely available in endemic settings.”

According to the President and CEO of Global BioDiagnostics Corp., Michael T. Norman, J.D., the partnership with FIND will provide the critical support needed to develop the technology into a POC test that meets the needs of the global TB market.

"GBD is founded on principles that make it natural for us to partner with FIND. Our vision is to be a world-wide leader in the provision of low-cost, easy-to-use, rapid diagnostics that meet the needs of the global infectious disease market, with special attention paid to the constraints inherent in low-resource settings," said Mr. Norman. “In our case, we are designing the test to meet the needs parameters of the global TB market, which often means low-resource settings with severe constraints.”

Dr. Mark Perkins, Chief Scientific Officer of FIND, said, "GBD’s technology offers real potential for the development of a test with utility in peripheral health settings. Extension of simple and sensitive diagnostics to this level of the health system, close to where patients first seek care, would be a great breakthrough in TB diagnosis."

About Tuberculosis:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease spread primarily by coughing. It is prevalent in developing countries, and up to a third of the world's population is infected;
  • TB is one of the greatest threats to health worldwide, with nearly 9 million new cases and 2 million deaths a year due to the disease.
  • The spread of TB has been exacerbated by (i) the large numbers of people from all over the world who travel; (ii) the worldwide rise of multi-drug resistance TB strains; and (iii) the global spread of HIV, with markedly increases susceptibility to TB;
  • Sputum microscopy, currently the most widely used method to detect TB, is cumbersome and insensitive, leaving many patients undetected. Bacterial culture is more sensitive, but takes 4-6 weeks to complete, and is too complex for most settings where TB patients are seen;
  • The HIV pandemic has led to a resurgence of TB as a major public health problem. Immunodeficient HIV-positive patients are particularly vulnerable to TB, which is responsible for the deaths of at least 40 per cent of patients in this group.

About FIND:
FIND is dedicated solely to developing affordable, easy-to-use and cutting edge diagnostic tests that save lives in the poorest areas of the world. From the initial idea and discovery stage to putting new tests into practice, the organization works with multiple and diverse groups, from academia, industry, donors, partners in the field, Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization. With five new diagnostic tools for TB already in use, FIND also has programs in malaria and sleeping sickness. Launched in 2003, the not-for-profit Foundation, with an established ISO-certified project management framework, has headquarters in Geneva and offices in Kampala, Uganda, and New Delhi, India. FIND is financed by both the private and public sectors. Donors currently include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of the Netherlands, the European Union, UNITAID, UK Department for International Development, National Institutes of Health (USA) and others. For more information, please visit http://www.finddiagnostics.org, or contact Dr. Mark Perkins at mark(dot)perkins(at)finddiagnostics(dot)org.

About Global BioDiagnostics Corp.:
Global BioDiagnostics Corp. is an early stage biotechnology company whose mission is to develop, manufacture and distribute diagnostics that address huge needs in the global infectious disease market. The company’s products in development for TB utilize a ground-breaking biophotonic detection platform developed by researchers at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Texas A&M University and Stanford University. The research conducted by Texas A&M was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the funding for Stanford was through a sub-grant by Texas A&M. The company has offices in Temple, Texas and Daresbury, England. For more information, please visit http://www.globalbiodiagnostics.com, or contact Michael T. Norman at mnorman(at)gbdbio(dot)com.

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Michael T. Norman

Krisztina Bagamery, MPharm, PhD
FIND
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