National Institutes of Health awards two grants for infectious disease tests

Boston-based Immunetics, Inc. awarded $1.2 million for new test development


BOSTON, Mass.....June 1, 2008…..Immunetics, Inc. (Boston, MA) has received two new grants totaling $1.2 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Advanced Technology program.  The grants will support development of tests for antibiotic resistance in bacteria and for the parasitic agent of Chagas’ disease, both emerging public health threats.  With the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, including MRSA as an example currently receiving much attention, serious infections have become more challenging for hospitals to treat and to control.  The test under development by Immunetics will provide faster results than are available using current methods, as it is based on genetic information and does not require culturing bacteria for one or more days.  Immunetics will be collaborating with Tufts Medical Center in Boston and a Miami medical center under the new grant, which follows a previous $1.5 million grant supporting development of the bacterial test.  A second grant will support development of a confirmatory test for Chagas’ disease, a parasitic infection which can be transmitted during blood transfusions.  With the discovery of Chagas’ disease cases in the U.S. resulting from transfusion with infected blood, organizations such as the American Red Cross and other blood centers have begun to screen blood donations for antibodies to the parasite.  However, confirming a positive screening result requires a lengthy and complex follow-on test.  Immunetics will develop a simpler and more rapid confirmatory test which can be carried out by any clinical or blood bank laboratory.  The company is working with collaborators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross to develop the test.


“We are very grateful for the support of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for these two projects, especially in light of the current funding climate” said Dr. Andrew Levin, Immunetics' founder and Scientific Director who will be directing the work.  “The tests which we will be developing under the new grants address growing needs in two critical areas of healthcare – treating and preventing drug-resistant bacterial infections in the hospital and maintaining a safe blood supply.  We see our technology’s capability to detect and identify pathogens rapidly and accurately as bridging the gap between the limitations of existing methods and the pressing needs of clinicians for timely information, enabling more effective treatment and control of serious infectious diseases”.

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Immunetics offers state-of-the-art assay technology for infectious disease diagnosis and pathogen detection, and for over ten years has been a leading innovator of tests for bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. The company produces and markets a range of infectious disease immunoassay kits and instruments.  Its mission is better, cost-efficient care through more accurate diagnosis.