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Awards Registry

An automated, scalable, and rapid AST system for Gonorrhea STIs
Profile last edited on: 5/20/22

Program
SBIR
Agency
NIH | NIAID
Total Award Amount
$1,934,394
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Roy R Swiger
Activity Indicator

Location Information

Acenxion Biosystems Inc

2002 West 39th Avenue Suite 1004
Kansas City, KS 66103
   N/A
   N/A
   www.acxbio.com~acenxionbiosystems.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   03
County:   Wyandotte

Phase I

Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$967,087
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) thatinfects the urogenital, anorectal and pharyngeal tracts in humans. In 2018, there were an estimated 1.14Mcases in the US, and 86.9M cases worldwide. Of concern is the growing incidence of antimicrobial resistancenot only due to inappropriate use of antibiotics, but also because NG interacts with and acquires geneticmaterial from other co-infections in the anatomical sites that it infects. This wide range of resistancemechanisms that NG isolates can potentially harbor makes it very challenging to develop rapid molecularmethods of Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (AST). Even among phenotypic AST methods, it has so far notbeen considered feasible to perform automated broth microdilution based ASTs on NG: principally because itis a fastidious organism in liquid culture. As a result, the primary method used to perform ASTs for NG is themanual agar dilution method, which (because it is so labor intensive) is currently conducted in only a verylimited number of public health labs. Even these labs test only 200-300 samples a month.Acenxion Biosystems proposes to develop the first fully automated NG phenotypic AST platform that bothsatisfies the current CDC guidance for surveillance and fulfils an unmet clinical need for AST-guided "directed"antibiotic therapy. Our instrument will provide Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and Susceptible/Intermediate /Resistance (S/I/R) interpretation in < 6 hours with minimal sample preparation (<5 min persample) at a reasonable price. The instrument will consist of stackable, cassette reader units with up to eightmicrofluidic cassette capacity; software/PC Controller; and single-use consumable (50-well microfluidiccassette pre-spotted with candidate antibiotics). Optimized broth and rapid stirring are employed for NGgrowth, enabling automated broth microdilution. With prior funding from the CDC, we have demonstratedproof-of-concept for the proposed instrument by building a partly-automated system to perform broth micro-dilution experiments on a single 16-well cassette, and used it monitor the growth (or lack thereof) of 3 NGstrains (1 ATTC QC strain, and 2 AR isolate strains) in the presence of multiple candidate antibiotics with100% sensitivity & specificity. We seek "Direct to Phase II" funds to expand this earlier work: build a fullyautomated instrument and test it against the CDC's challenge AR bank panel of 50 clinical isolates (which spanmultiple resistance mechanisms and yield wide range of phenotypic responses). We chose this set oforganisms in lieu of patient samples from 2 - 3 locations to ensure better chances of success in the real world.Our commercialization strategy aims to first bring efficiencies to the existing market (regional labs participatingin the Gonococcal Isolate Survey Program) and then to expand the user (customer) base to hospital labs,clinical laboratory networks and clinical labs by enabling AST-guided directed antibiotic therapy for gonorrhea.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
Narrative Sexually transmitted infections caused by N. gonorrhoeae (NG) continues to be a critical healthcare concern, as evidenced by the inclusion of NG in both CDC's 2019 AMR Threat Reports List, and in WHO's 2017 Priority List. The lack of a practical and automated susceptibility test (AST) for NG is a significant contributor to the growing problem of NG AMR, resulting in a lack of targeted antibiotic therapy. We propose the development of the first automated and scalable NG AST that will eliminate the labor- intensive methods currently used for this purpose.

Project Terms:
Agar ; Anatomy ; Anatomic ; Anatomic Sites ; Anatomic structures ; Anatomical Sciences ; Antibiotics ; Antibiotic Agents ; Antibiotic Drugs ; Miscellaneous Antibiotic ; Bacteria ; Behavior ; Carbon Dioxide ; CO2 ; Carbonic Anhydride ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.) ; CDC ; Centers for Disease Control ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; United States Centers for Disease Control ; United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; Clinical Research ; Clinical Study ; Computers ; Data Analyses ; Data Analysis ; data interpretation ; Environment ; Feedback ; Future ; Gonorrhea ; Gonococcal Infection ; Growth ; Generalized Growth ; Tissue Growth ; ontogeny ; Recording of previous events ; History ; Hospitals ; Human ; Modern Man ; Incidence ; Investments ; Laboratories ; hospital laboratories ; Manuals ; Methods ; Neisseria gonorrhoeae ; Gonococcus ; N gonorrhea ; N gonorrhoeae ; N. gonorrhea ; N. gonorrhoeae ; Neisseria gonorrhea ; Optics ; optical ; Organism ; living system ; Patients ; Phenotype ; Public Health ; Reading ; Savings ; Sensitivity and Specificity ; Sexually Transmitted Diseases ; Sexually Transmitted Disorder ; Sexually Transmitted Infection ; Venereal Diseases ; Venereal Disorders ; Venereal Infections ; Computer software ; Software ; Surveys ; Survey Instrument ; Testing ; Time ; Genitourinary system ; Genitourinary ; Urogenital ; Urogenital System ; Work ; Price ; pricing ; Healthcare ; health care ; base ; Clinical ; Phase ; Ensure ; Predisposition ; Susceptibility ; Single-Blind Study ; Single-blind ; Funding ; fluid ; liquid ; Liquid substance ; Spottings ; Contracting Opportunities ; Contracts ; Antibiotic Treatment ; bacterial disease treatment ; bacterial infectious disease treatment ; Antibiotic Therapy ; instrument ; programs ; Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations ; Minimum Inhibitory Concentration measurement ; Hour ; Genetic Materials ; Protocol ; Protocols documentation ; System ; Location ; field based data ; field learning ; field test ; field study ; success ; laboratory facility ; Speed ; Agreement ; Categories ; Devices ; Manpower ; personnel ; Human Resources ; Reporting ; Coding System ; Code ; Sampling ; response ; µfluidic ; Microfluidics ; Antimicrobial resistant ; Resistance to antimicrobial ; anti-microbial resistance ; anti-microbial resistant ; resistance to anti-microbial ; resistant to anti-microbial ; resistant to antimicrobial ; Antimicrobial Resistance ; Data ; Reader ; Reproducibility ; Surveillance Program ; Small Business Innovation Research Grant ; SBIR ; Small Business Innovation Research ; Monitor ; Preparation ; Molecular ; resistance mechanism ; resistant mechanism ; Development ; developmental ; cost ; design ; designing ; Antibiotic susceptibility ; Intermediate resistance ; Heteroresistance ; Heteroresistant ; Intermediate resistant ; practical application ; application in practice ; prototype ; commercialization ; co-infection ; coinfection ; experimental study ; experiment ; experimental researc

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$967,307
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) thatinfects the urogenital, anorectal and pharyngeal tracts in humans. In 2018, there were an estimated 1.14Mcases in the US, and 86.9M cases worldwide. Of concern is the growing incidence of antimicrobial resistancenot only due to inappropriate use of antibiotics, but also because NG interacts with and acquires geneticmaterial from other co-infections in the anatomical sites that it infects. This wide range of resistancemechanisms that NG isolates can potentially harbor makes it very challenging to develop rapid molecularmethods of Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (AST). Even among phenotypic AST methods, it has so far notbeen considered feasible to perform automated broth microdilution based ASTs on NG: principally because itis a fastidious organism in liquid culture. As a result, the primary method used to perform ASTs for NG is themanual agar dilution method, which (because it is so labor intensive) is currently conducted in only a verylimited number of public health labs. Even these labs test only 200-300 samples a month.Acenxion Biosystems proposes to develop the first fully automated NG phenotypic AST platform that bothsatisfies the current CDC guidance for surveillance and fulfils an unmet clinical need for AST-guided "directed"antibiotic therapy. Our instrument will provide Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and Susceptible/Intermediate /Resistance (S/I/R) interpretation in < 6 hours with minimal sample preparation (<5 min persample) at a reasonable price. The instrument will consist of stackable, cassette reader units with up to eightmicrofluidic cassette capacity; software/PC Controller; and single-use consumable (50-well microfluidiccassette pre-spotted with candidate antibiotics). Optimized broth and rapid stirring are employed for NGgrowth, enabling automated broth microdilution. With prior funding from the CDC, we have demonstratedproof-of-concept for the proposed instrument by building a partly-automated system to perform broth micro-dilution experiments on a single 16-well cassette, and used it monitor the growth (or lack thereof) of 3 NGstrains (1 ATTC QC strain, and 2 AR isolate strains) in the presence of multiple candidate antibiotics with100% sensitivity & specificity. We seek "Direct to Phase II" funds to expand this earlier work: build a fullyautomated instrument and test it against the CDC's challenge AR bank panel of 50 clinical isolates (which spanmultiple resistance mechanisms and yield wide range of phenotypic responses). We chose this set oforganisms in lieu of patient samples from 2 - 3 locations to ensure better chances of success in the real world.Our commercialization strategy aims to first bring efficiencies to the existing market (regional labs participatingin the Gonococcal Isolate Survey Program) and then to expand the user (customer) base to hospital labs,clinical laboratory networks and clinical labs by enabling AST-guided directed antibiotic therapy for gonorrhea.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
Narrative Sexually transmitted infections caused by N. gonorrhoeae (NG) continues to be a critical healthcare concern, as evidenced by the inclusion of NG in both CDC's 2019 AMR Threat Reports List, and in WHO's 2017 Priority List. The lack of a practical and automated susceptibility test (AST) for NG is a significant contributor to the growing problem of NG AMR, resulting in a lack of targeted antibiotic therapy. We propose the development of the first automated and scalable NG AST that will eliminate the labor- intensive methods currently used for this purpose.

Project Terms:
Agar ; Anatomy ; Anatomic ; Anatomic Sites ; Anatomic structures ; Anatomical Sciences ; Antibiotics ; Antibiotic Agents ; Antibiotic Drugs ; Miscellaneous Antibiotic ; Bacteria ; Behavior ; Carbon Dioxide ; CO2 ; Carbonic Anhydride ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.) ; CDC ; Centers for Disease Control ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; United States Centers for Disease Control ; United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; Clinical Research ; Clinical Study ; Computers ; Data Analyses ; Data Analysis ; data interpretation ; Environment ; Feedback ; Future ; Gonococcal Infection ; Gonorrhea ; Generalized Growth ; Tissue Growth ; ontogeny ; Growth ; History ; Recording of previous events ; Hospitals ; Modern Man ; Human ; Incidence ; Investments ; Laboratories ; hospital laboratories ; Manuals ; Methods ; Gonococcus ; N gonorrhea ; N gonorrhoeae ; N. gonorrhea ; N. gonorrhoeae ; Neisseria gonorrhea ; Neisseria gonorrhoeae ; optical ; Optics ; living system ; Organism ; Patients ; Phenotype ; Public Health ; Reading ; Savings ; Sensitivity and Specificity ; Sexually Transmitted Disorder ; Sexually Transmitted Infection ; Venereal Diseases ; Venereal Disorders ; Venereal Infections ; Sexually Transmitted Diseases ; Software ; Computer software ; Surveys ; Survey Instrument ; Testing ; Time ; Genitourinary ; Urogenital ; Urogenital System ; Genitourinary system ; Work ; Price ; pricing ; Healthcare ; health care ; base ; Clinical ; Phase ; Ensure ; Predisposition ; Susceptibility ; Single-blind ; Single-Blind Study ; Funding ; fluid ; liquid ; Liquid substance ; Spottings ; Contracting Opportunities ; Contracts ; Antibiotic Treatment ; bacterial disease treatment ; bacterial infectious disease treatment ; Antibiotic Therapy ; instrument ; programs ; Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations ; Minimum Inhibitory Concentration measurement ; Hour ; Genetic Materials ; Protocol ; Protocols documentation ; System ; Location ; field study ; field based data ; field learning ; field test ; success ; laboratory facility ; Speed ; Agreement ; Categories ; Devices ; Human Resources ; Manpower ; personnel ; Reporting ; Code ; Coding System ; Sampling ; response ; Microfluidics ; µfluidic ; Antimicrobial resistant ; Resistance to antimicrobial ; anti-microbial resistance ; anti-microbial resistant ; resistance to anti-microbial ; resistant to anti-microbial ; resistant to antimicrobial ; Antimicrobial Resistance ; Data ; Reader ; Reproducibility ; Surveillance Program ; SBIR ; Small Business Innovation Research ; Small Business Innovation Research Grant ; Monitor ; Preparation ; Molecular ; resistant mechanism ; resistance mechanism ; developmental ; Development ; cost ; designing ; design ; Antibiotic susceptibility ; Heteroresistance ; Heteroresistant ; Intermediate resistant ; Intermediate resistance ; application in practice ; practical application ; prototype ; commercialization ; coinfection ; co-infection ; experiment ; experimental research ; experimental stud