LightDeck Diagnostics received a $2 million contract for the development of a rapid, quantitative, multiplexed test for C-reactive proteins (CRP), inducible-proteins 10 (IP-10 or CXCL-10), and other inflammatory markers, which are known as cytokines and chemokines.

LightDeck Diagnostics — a company leveraging planar waveguide technology for lab diagnostics — received the contract from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HFJ), as funded by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) and the Department of Defense (DoD). 

The LightDeck Analyzer’s inflammation panel is designed to help healthcare providers determine the status of a patient’s health and the severity of their condition. The results could inform triage and treatment decisions on-site and in real-time, potentially making a significant difference in patient outcomes. 

Inflammation plays a critical role across all diseases. In COVID-19, for example, the body triggers an inflammatory response that produces proteins including CRP and IP-10 or CXCL-10, which are markedly elevated in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Preliminary data LightDeck gathered in conjunction with HJF suggest that panels including CRP and IP-10 biomarkers may have utility in predicting the hospitalization risk of COVID-19 patients.  

“During pandemics or biothreat events, when resources like nursing staff, ICU beds, and ventilators are limited, triaging patients by determining the risk of a patient needing hospitalization and allowing caregivers to properly allocate healthcare resources is of the utmost importance,” says Danielle Clark, PhD, of HJF. “We believe the LightDeck analyzer capabilities to measure a panel of inflammation markers in minutes should allow improved patient care promptly upon arrival to the emergency room or clinic.”

The LightDeck Analyzer leverages planar waveguide technology, which can enable quantitative, highly sensitive, and specific tests for dozens of biomarkers on a single cartridge. The analyzer is compact, lightweight, and has a simple workflow so that healthcare providers could easily implement it in labs, hospitals, clinics, or at the point-of-care.  

“Multiplex tests for inflammation, optimized for each condition, are an exciting opportunity in diagnostics and prognosis,” says Nick Traggis, CEO of LightDeck Diagnostics. “With this project, we aim to validate the effectiveness of our inflammation panel for COVID-19, which is the first step towards delivering a larger triage panel for respiratory failure caused by a variety of conditions. We’re honored to continue to be a trusted source for fast, high-quality, multiplexed diagnostic solutions.” 

The funding through HJF will support a study using LightDeck’s inflammation panel and an evaluation of clinical, regulatory, and commercial requirements. LightDeck will develop plans to bring the tests to market via FDA’s standard in vitro diagnostics regulatory pathways.

The Austere environments Consortium for Enhanced Sepsis Outcomes (ACESO) team at HJF will develop machine learning algorithms derived from ongoing clinical research efforts. In parallel, LightDeck will work with the JPEO team on additional opportunities for biothreat readiness implementations.