25/05/2020 - 22:12

Proteomics to develop ‘rapid-test’ for COVID-19

25/05/2020 - 22:12

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ASX-listed Proteomics International has received a $200,000 boost in funding courtesy of the WA Health Department and the WA Health Translation Network to develop a rapid test for COVID-19 and undertake some ground breaking research into why it attacks some worse than others. Proteomics will make use of its state-of-the-art facilities at the QE11 Medical centre.

ASX-listed biotech, Proteomics International Laboratories, has received a $200,000 boost in funding courtesy of the WA Health Department and the WA Health Translation Network to develop a rapid test for COVID-19 and undertake some ground breaking research into why the virus attacks some worse than others.

Proteomics said the grants will support the Company's current COVID-19 research programs to develop a rapid diagnostic test for the identification of the so-called SARS-CoV-2 virus and to isolate biomarkers that give insights into the progression of the COVID-19 disease.

The Perth-based company that is no stranger to breaking new ground, is looking to complete the work over the next 8-12 months.

Proteomics is something of a pioneer in predictive diagnostics and bioanalytical services with its initial success coming from the development of its “PromarkerD” technology in 2017.

The PromarkerD diagnostic test results in the detection of diabetic kidney disease up to four years earlier than a typical diagnosis, enabling a patient to begin effective treatment well in advance of the onset of serious symptoms.

The company has continued to expand the PromarkerTM technology platform under the direction of Managing Director and founder, Dr Richard Lipscombe.  Proteomic’s business model is centred on the commercialisation of this diagnostic testing whilst offsetting its R&D costs and cash burn through the provision of specialist analytical services to other parties.

The PromarkerTM ‘pipeline’ now includes research and development into a range of testing for diseases and afflictions including endometriosis, giardia, asthma, cancer, and various contagions such as COVID-19.

Proteomics is looking to address the two principal issues around the current COVID-19 testing regime which is particularly invasive inside the nasal canal and very time consuming to get a result.

The company is attempting to create a saliva-based test that can do away with the difficult to administer deep nasal swab, with a view to also significantly shortening the time taken to get a result.

Its biomarker research will look to isolate genetic “biomarkers” or “proteins” found in a patient’s blood that are particular to those people that have severely reacted to COVID-19 as opposed to those that were either mildly affected or asymptomatic.

If Proteomics is able to successfully isolate these biomarkers, then doctors may be able to effectively sort or “triage” those patients that will likely have a more severe reaction to the virus based on a simple blood test.

According to the World Health Organisation, 14 per cent of people presenting with COVID-19 have severe infections requiring oxygen and 6 per cent require ventilation whilst the overwhelming majority, or 80%, will experience no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

Whilst global markets are on edge trying to identify the winner in the race to create a vaccine for COVID-19, from a commercial perspective, a rapid fire test kit could potentially be even more lucrative than a vaccine as it could be used on the general population rather than just those that have contracted the virus.

With major employers such as mining companies, call centres, Government departments and others all desperate to create mitigation methods for their workforces to deal with COVID-19, the potential numbers of rapid tests being required just in the corporate sector alone are mind boggling.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting ? Contact : matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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