Talis Biomedical awarded $4.4M by CARB-X

To fund development of rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests for pathogen identification and antibiotic susceptibility. Talis Bio is developing a high-performance molecular point-of-care (POC) diagnostic platform to enable physician offices and clinics to run reference lab-quality diagnostic laboratory tests for infectious diseases. The $4.4M award from CARB-X, with the possibility of an additional $4.2M in milestone-based awards, will fund development of a rapid CLIA-waived molecular diagnostic test to detect chlamydia and gonorrhea directly from a patient sample in 20 minutes or less and development of a similarly rapid phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility test for gonorrhea.

Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections are on the rise; strains of multidrug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae, often called ‘superbug gonorrhoeae‘, have been detected in a number of countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia, and 78 million with gonorrhoeae. In the United States alone, approximately 820,000 new infections occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When left untreated, these infections can result in serious complications and health problems for women (pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage). Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause infertility in both men and women.

The Talis system leverages proprietary isothermal amplification chemistries, innovative engineering and powerful data science tools to enable users to load sample, walk away, and review results remotely. The high-resolution, digital quantification capability of the company’s proprietary SlipChip technology will enable the determination of susceptibility to antibiotics by measuring small molecular response differences between susceptible and resistant bacteria. The development of this phenotypic susceptibility approach, pioneered by students and postdoctoral researchers in the laboratory of Talis co-founder Rustem Ismagilov at Caltech, will be significantly advanced through continued collaboration. Results from the initial collaboration were published in a recent Science Translational Medicine paper.

The support of CARB-X offers Talis an extraordinary opportunity to bring rapid pathogen identification and phenotypic anti-microbial susceptibility testing to the point-of-care,” said Brian Coe, Chief Executive Officer of Talis. “Beyond our initial menu items of chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, our intent is to build on this research to deliver a broad menu of testing capability to care providers around the world.”

Talis Biomedical’s project could potentially speed up and improve the way drug-resistant gonorrhea and other serious diseases are diagnosed and treated. These diseases are a main public health problem worldwide, affecting millions of people’s quality of life and causing serious illness,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X. “The world urgently needs new diagnostics, antibiotics and other products to protect us from drug-resistant bacteria. N. gonorrhoeae is third on the CDC’s list of urgent antibiotic-resistance threats.