PathoQuest has shown its metagenomics sequencing technology can identify more pathogens in immunocompromised patients than the standard procedures, keeping antibiotic-resistant infections at bay.
PathoQuest, a spin-off from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, develops next-generation sequencing (NGS) metagenomics tests. The company just announced the publication of results from a clinical trial comparing its iDTECT Blood technology to standard methods for pathogen identification in immunocompromised patients suspected of having an infectious disease.
The study included 101 participants that were diagnosed using both approaches and monitored for 30 days. PathoQuest’s test was able to initially detect clinically relevant pathogens in 36% of patients, whereas standard methods including blood culture, serological diagnosis, antigen 154 detection, PCR and direct examination of specimens only identified pathogens in 11%.
PathoQuest’s untargeted next-generation sequencing (UNGS) technology uses a metagenomics approach to detect DNA sequences in a blood sample and compare them with a proprietary database including over 1,200 sequences of clinically relevant pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes to determine if any are present in the initial sample.
The technology provides a fast approach to better diagnose infections, which can improve patient care and reduce risks of microbial resistance by employing targeted therapies instead of broad spectrum antibiotics. Unlike conventional blood culture methods, it can identify less virulent pathogens without interference from antimicrobial treatments in the patient. And unlike PCR testing, it can detect any sequence in the database without the need of preselecting potential pathogens to look for.
iDTECT Blood received CE Marking last October, making it the first NGS-based metagenomics test to be approved in Europe. PathoQuest, which already sells its sequencing technology to biopharma for the control of bioproduction cultures, is now finalizing details to launch the diagnostics test. A recent licensing agreement with Laboratoire CERBA will make the test available for clinical use in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
NGS is rapidly becoming cheaper, which greatly facilitates its implementation in the clinic. In addition, the development of portable sequencing devices such as Oxford Nanopore’s MinION has the potential of making the technology accessible everywhere, not only in specialized laboratories. This will translate into a huge growth for the NGS market, from €3.8B in 2015 to a massive €11.4B by 2021.
Images from isak55 /Shutterstock; PathoQuest