T2 tech aims to ID hospital infections in fraction of the time

In a column for Forbes, Peter Cohan profiles T2 Biosystems, a company founded based on the strength of diagnostic technology developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital. T2's diagnostic device detects the Candida fungus, which can cause a deadly bloodstream infection, in about two hours versus two to five days with other tests. Candida fungus causes infections in 90,000 patients a year and has a 40 percent mortality rate.

As it notes on its website, T2's proprietary detection technology combines nanotechnology and miniaturized magnetic resonance technology to eliminate sample preparation and provide results quickly for assays that cannot be performed in decentralized settings. In addition, T2's technology is not optical and does not require purification of biological samples, thus allowing the system to perform single-step processing and rapid turnaround times without the need for trained technicians.

Last month, T2 presented data on the rapid detection of five species of Candida using its technology. "The results from our tests to detect Candida in whole blood samples in less than two hours are unprecedented and represent a major breakthrough for this deadly fungal infection," explained T2 CEO John McDonough in a statement. "This is a terrific example of how T2 Biosystems' technology removes the sample preparation barriers of existing diagnostics to improve patient outcomes by enabling rapid detection directly in whole blood samples for the most challenging diagnostic tests."

As Cohan notes, T2 has raised $30 million in three rounds. Its investors include Flagship Capital Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners and Physic Ventures. 

The company hopes to submit the diagnostic device, including the Candida application, for FDA clearance in 2012.

- see Cohan's profile of T2