Inflammatix, Burlingame, Calif, will further develop its HostDx tests with funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Under the contract, Inflammatix will receive $6 million during the first phase of a cost-sharing contract worth up $72 million based on achieving certain milestones.

The new contract will advance development and commercialization of Inflammatix’s sample-to-answer, point-of-care HostDx test system. The first phase of work will focus on the novel HostDx fever test, which reads gene expression patterns in the immune system to quickly identify whether a suspected infection is bacterial or viral, enabling physicians to quickly and accurately determine whether to prescribe antibiotics. The HostDx fever test will be run from a fingerstick blood sample and will be used primarily in primary care, urgent care, and other outpatient clinical settings.

Tim Sweeney, MD, PhD, Inflammatix.

Tim Sweeney, MD, PhD, Inflammatix.

Current methods for diagnosing infections are slow and often inaccurate, resulting in delayed or inappropriate treatment, and infections are often blindly—and incorrectly—treated with antibiotics, contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance. Today, an estimated 30% of antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed to patients because their infections are not obviously bacterial or viral in origin. Each year at least 2 million Americans become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 die as a direct result.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from BARDA, which will enable us to advance our HostDx fever test into the clinic where it will help physicians quickly diagnose infections so they can get the right treatments to the right patients,” says Tim Sweeney, MD, PhD, cofounder and chief executive officer of Inflammatix. “This ability is key to combatting antibiotic resistance, which is one of the most pressing public health challenges of our time. Through this public-private sector partnership, we will move precision medicine to the point of care, where it can have an immediate impact on patient outcomes.”

For more information, visit Inflammatix.

Featured image: The HostDx fever test from Inflammatix diagnoses acute infections in less than 30 minutes at the point of care.