CARB-X backs Talis to develop point-of-care gonorrhea tests

Researchers working at Talis. (Talis)

Talis has secured funding from CARB-X to develop a rapid test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The $4.4 million award sets Talis up to work on a molecular diagnostic capable of detecting the bacteria directly from patient samples within 20 minutes.

Menlo Park, California-based Talis is built on technologies that automate the preparation of samples and cut the time it takes to deliver a diagnosis. The goal is to enable users to load the sample into the system, leave it to perform the analysis and then view the readout remotely.

CARB-X, an antibiotic R&D funding partnership, thinks the technology could advance its agenda and has put up cash to find out. Talis is receiving $4.4 million and could go on to pocket up to $4.2 million more in milestones.

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In return, Talis will apply its capabilities to areas of interest at CARB-X. One part of the project will work on the aforementioned 20-minute test for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The second project is centered on a similarly snappy test of phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility for gonorrhea.

Equipped with both tests, healthcare professionals could identify the pathogen and assess its susceptibility to antimicrobials at the point of care. CARB-X envisions that toolkit improving how the bacteria is treated.

“Talis’ project could potentially speed up and improve the way drug-resistant gonorrhea and other serious diseases are diagnosed and treated,” CARB-X executive director Kevin Outterson said in a statement. “These diseases are a major public health problem worldwide, affecting millions of people's quality of life and causing serious illness.”

The award is the latest in a string of commitments CARB-X has made to support the development of tests related to bacteria. Since the start of March, T2 Biosystems, HelixBind, Specific Diagnostics and now Talis have received money from CARB-X.

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