Ares Genetics, a subsidiary of molecular microbiology diagnostics and syndromic testing company Curetis, has launched an early access program for its molecular antibiotic susceptibility test (AST), that leverages next-generation sequencing (NGS) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
According to the company, the new test has multiple applications ranging from identifying antibiotic susceptibility in the clinical setting and for broader public health applications, as well as for drug developers looking to bring new treatments to market targeting infrectious diseases.
The new test, dubbed ARESup—Universal Pathogenome Assay, is an expanded version of the NGS-based ARESupa, an NGS-based test launched in August of this year that identifies pathogens and resistance genes. The new version of the test now also predicts antibiotic susceptibility using AI to interpret sequencing data. Also in August, Ares opened its own specialized service laboratory offering next-generation molecular antimicrobial resistance (AMR) testing services with an initial focus on infection control, AMR epidemiology and surveillance, clinical research and pharmaceutical anti-infectives research and development.
“With the opening of our laboratory in Vienna and the first commercial orders for ARESupa, Ares Genetics delivers on its transformation from an AMR data intelligence company to an end-to-end service provider in AI-powered molecular drug resistance testing,” said Dr. Andreas Posch, managing director and CEO of Ares Genetics, in a press release announcing the lab opening.
ARESupa is based on whole-genome sequencing of bacterial strains isolated from clinical specimens, combined with data analysis and interpretation powered by ARESdb, the company’s reference database of genetic antimicrobial resistance markers. ARESdb covers genomes of about 40,000 bacterial strains with associated susceptibility data for more than 100 different antibiotics.
To date, Ares said it has received orders for more than 1,000 ARESupa tests, an order volume exceeding €500,000. Combined with its bioinformatics and AI services leveraging ARESdb for the diagnostics and pharma industry, as well as access to certain rights, Ares has contracted for and received orders amounting to more than €2 million in 2019.
A blinded evaluation study with a leading global IVD player recently demonstrated a predictive performance of the AI-powered ARESupa in line with FDA requirements for over 50 drug/pathogen combinations. Further blinded evaluation studies with leading academic medical centers are anticipated for Q4/2019.
The company said it plans broader commercialization of ARESupa in early 2020, which will be offered for non-diagnostic applications in epidemiology, infection control, and outbreak analysis for customers in the public health sector and the pharmaceutical industry.
Ares research and development programs for ARESupa have been to the tune of more than €3 million by by the Vienna Business Agency, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), and other institutions. In addition to the ARESupa, the company launched ARESdb as part of its CLC Microbial Genomics Module for general explorative antibiotic research by the life science community, in a strategic partnership with QIAGEN announced in September.