CARB-X grants Day Zero Diagnostics $6.2M for development of diagnostic tool
Day Zero Diagnostics Inc. has been awarded up to $6.2 million in funding from Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, to accelerate the development of a new diagnostics system for combatting drug-resistant bacteria using machine learning and whole-genome sequencing.
“The diagnostic that we are developing enables clinicians to practice antibiotic stewardship, one of the core pillars of a comprehensive strategy to fight antibiotic resistance, even for patients with severe infections like sepsis,” Jong Lee, MBA, president, CEO and cofounder of Day Zero Diagnostics, told Healio. “With current diagnostics, the recommendations for treatment of patients with sepsis are to use hard-hitting empiric therapy for sustained periods of time because diagnostic information isn’t available to do more targeted drug treatment.”
The funds will be used to aid the development of Day Zero’s diagnostic system, which is intended to assist physicians with the diagnosis of bacterial infections. The system will also aid patients with severe infections by ensuring they receive the most effective antibiotic upon hospital admission to avoid multiple days of broad-spectrum antibiotics and, potentially, septic shock.
“New technologies, like the diagnostic under development by Day Zero, if successful, could transform the way the way physicians diagnose and treat drug-resistant infections and save lives,” Erin Duffy, chief of research and development at CARB-X, said in a press release.
Day Zero will be eligible for an additional $18.7 million from CARB-X if research reaches specific development milestones, for a combined $24.9 million in potential funding. Researchers will work to aggregate and analyze genomes and resistance profiles of pathogens that are sequenced by the diagnostic tool to recognize and foresee outbreaks and identify targets for antibiotic development.
“Culture can take at least a day, and many days for certain organisms, and often fails to grow when you are dealing with patients who are septic,” Lee said. “Developing a culture-free diagnostic that can comprehensively determine the antibiotic resistance profile of an infection is extremely hard. We try to solve both ends of that problem by combining our culture-free sample prep system with a machine-learning algorithm for predicting antibiotic resistance.”
Lee expects machine learning will continue to play a role in combatting antibiotic-resistant infections and other infectious disease threats.
“As we accumulate more and more data in the medical world, there will certainly be a lot more situations in which machine learning will be relevant for diagnostics,” he said. “For infectious diseases, pathogen genomic data have particular potential for helping to understand virulence, antibiotic resistance and spread.” – by Eamon Dreisbach
Disclosures: Duffy is the chief of research and development at CARB-X. Lee is the president and CEO of Day Zero Diagnostics.