Case Study

Leveraging global surveillance data to develop rapid diagnostics: MSD & OpGen’s Collaboration

Company Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, United States
Sub category of Industry Diagnostics, R&D Pharma
Category of commitment Appropriate Use, Research & Science
Which product(s) Diagnostics, Small molecule
Key focus Collaboration, Surveillance
Key partners of the program OpGen
Geographic focus Global

Rapid diagnostics for pathogen identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing are central to developing global solutions for antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr. Eliav Barr, senior vice president, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. “By providing OpGen with access to our archive of bacterial pathogens, we hope to expedite the development of rapid diagnostic tests and enable prompt and informed antibiotic prescribing to improve patient outcomes.

MSD

Health needs

Rapid diagnostics for pathogen identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing are central to developing global solutions for antimicrobial resistance. Diagnostics can help distinguish between infections that require antibiotic treatment and those that do not. Determining whether an infection is bacterial or viral would reduce the improper use of antimicrobials, thus slowing the pace of antimicrobial resistance.

Initiative’s objective

The purpose of this initiative is to develop new rapid diagnostics and information technology products to help combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance. MSD will collaborate to support OpGen’s development of rapid DNA tests and a genomic knowledgebase of antibiotic-resistant pathogens for predicting antibiotic susceptibility based on test results. MSD has the potential to greatly accelerate OpGen’s internal development efforts in validating their rapid diagnostic tools and bolster data acquisition for their Lighthouse Knowledgebase by providing them with access to the SMART surveillance network data.

Initiative’s description

Under the terms of the agreement, MSD will provide access to its archive of over 200,000 bacterial pathogens gathered over the last 15 years through the Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART), one of the world’s largest surveillance studies of antimicrobial resistance supported by MSD in collaboration with International Health Management Associates (IHMA). OpGen will perform genomic analysis, microbiology testing for drug resistance, and incorporate this information into its Acuitas® Lighthouse Knowledgebase and the development of rapid DNA tests. This new molecular testing and informatics approach is being developed to help transform antibiotic decision making for doctors managing acute care patients with blood, respiratory, urinary tract and soft tissue infections. In addition to identifying resistance determinants to predict antibiotic failures, the OpGen technology is being evaluated as the foundation for utilizing molecular diagnostic tests to predict pathogen susceptibility and guide patient management choices to improve patient outcomes.

Impact

  • MSD will provide access to its archive of over 200,000 bacterial pathogens gathered over the last 15 years through the Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART).
  • In 2016, MSD anticipates that more than 41,000 isolates will be collected.
  • OpGen will initially perform molecular analyses on up to 10,000 pathogens to identify markers of resistance to support rapid decision making using the Acuitas Lighthouse® MDRO Management System (“Lighthouse Portal”), and to speed development of OpGen’s rapid diagnostic platforms.

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