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Bacterial Infectious Disease Goes Molecular

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Beyond a few key applications in HIV, HCV and sexually transmitted diseases, genomics has yet to make its presence felt in infectious disease testing. Technological advances in molecular testing, as well as a better understanding of genomics and a growing interest in defenses against bioterrorism are generating interest in new approaches to diagnosing infectious diseases and determining drug resistance. Several small companies are leading the way.

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Despite the global increase in resistant bacterial infections, investment in development of new antibiotics and antimicrobials has declined over the past few years. Siena-based Molteni Therapeutics is taking a new look at antibacterials and antifungals, creating small-molecule photosensitizers activated by visible red light that destroy fungal and bacterial cells, in an approach known as antimicrobial photodynamic therapy.

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Short summaries of notable clinical findings impacting the device industry; sepsis gets a new ProCESS; antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and computer automation reduces time on ventilator.

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Anyone looking at investing in diagnostics would do well to consider the cautionary, still-evolving tale of Cepheid as an indication of the complexities inherent in building a new diagnostic enterprise. Cepheid has more going for it than most diagnostic start-ups, including steady revenues from innovative products and an experienced management team with a proven track-record at deal-making. But it faces continual funding issues and a longer-than-expected time frame to profitability.

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