Ontera, Santa Cruz, Calif, and QuantuMDx Group, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, have teamed up to create a next-generation solution for detecting bloodstream infection and drug resistance. The technology will be based on QuantuMDx’s rapid cell/sample preparation technology, Capture-XT, and Ontera’s nanopore biosensor, currently utilized in its Sam and Duo Nano platforms.

The combined technologies should enable clinicians to quickly analyze blood specimens from patients presenting with sepsis symptoms, allowing for guided ‘right first time’ care at the bedside.

Photo O'HalloranJonathan-cropped

Jonathan O’Halloran, QuantuMDx.

According to the World Health Organization, sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide every year, leading to an estimated 6 million deaths. If not recognized early and managed promptly with targeted antibiotics, sepsis can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure, and death.

QuantuMDx’s Capture-XT technology captures, concentrates, and enriches targeted pathogens from a large sample volume, enabling visual diagnosis and downstream utilization, such as drug-susceptibility analysis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and now with this collaboration, nanopore detection.

Murielle Thinard McLane, Otera.

Murielle Thinard McLane, Otera.

Ontera’s single-pore platform provides fast amplification of multiple bacterial targets, allowing differentiation between antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-susceptible strains. The company uses silicon nanopore for quantitative measurement of nucleic acids, proteins, and small molecules in minutes, avoiding time-consuming laboratory procedures that can delay precise lifesaving treatment.

“Sepsis is one of the hardest diseases to detect. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, due to the low concentration of organisms in the bloodstream that cause disease,” says Jonathan O’Halloran, chief scientific officer at QuantuMDx. “Our early prototype testing has already shown sensitivity in the range required for this kind of test and performed in minutes from spiked bacteria in whole blood. We haven’t even pushed the technology yet, but it has the potential to become a paradigm-shifting, powerful device. And, by including drug resistance in the assay to enable right-first-time prescribing, the impact of this partnership could be profound.”


QuantuMDx’s Capture-XT.

The Capture-XT rapid cell/sample preparation technology from QuantuMDx.

“Today, 30% of patients receive inappropriate antimicrobial therapy. By not only identifying sepsis but also resistance to most common antibiotics in less than 30 minutes, we will transform the sepsis landscape and impact lives,” says Murielle Thinard McLane, CEO of Ontera. “We have set out on a mission to democratize access to molecular information to create a more sustainable planet. This collaboration with QuantuMDx is a major proof point along that mission.”

For more information, visit Ontera and QuantuMDx.

Featured image: The single-pore NanoDetector under development by Ontera.