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A statewide effort
GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance are major problems worldwide, and organizations such as WHO are working to mobilize initiatives and establish guidelines around the globe to try and counteract the spread of resistant strains. Others are working on tackling the issue on their home turf, which is the case in New York. Earlier this week, it was announced that the New York State Department of Health (DOH), OpGen Inc. and ILÚM Health Solutions LLC (ILÚM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck's Healthcare Services and Solutions, will be collaborating on a state-of-the-art research program for the detection, tracking and management of antimicrobial-resistant infections at healthcare sites across the state. The goal is the development of a precision medicine platform that will connect medical institutions with the DOH.
OpGen, ILÚM and the DOH's Wadsworth Center Laboratories will collaborate on a sustainable, flexible tool for the reporting and tracking of antimicrobial resistance across the state, hopefully improving patient outcomes by offering real-time surveillance with web-based and mobile platforms. Key to the project is ILÚM's technology platform, which will be supported by OpGen's Acuitas AMR Gene Panel for rapid detection of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens and its Acuitas Lighthouse Software for high-resolution pathogen tracking. OpGen's Gene Panel makes it possible to get identification in less than three hours. It and the Lighthouse Software are commercially available for research use only, though according to a press release on the collaboration, OpGen plans to submit both systems for FDA clearance after the necessary trials.
ILÚM's platform is a commercial off the shelf solution that collates data from a variety of locations and institutions. As noted in a press release, “The platform offers patient and program-specific data analytics and visualization capabilities to users via a web application and a mobile device application. Also, it enables case browsing, patient monitoring, detection and prioritization and performance monitoring and reporting for disease management, including actionable insights in support of quality improvement efforts, disease surveillance, pathway adherence, and ultimately impacting outcomes.”
“We are proud to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative throughout the State of New York, and to collaborate with Wadsworth and ILÚM to help develop the blueprint for how governments and healthcare facilities can detect, track, and manage antimicrobial-resistant infections,” said Evan Jones, CEO of OpGen. “As part of the collaboration, OpGen will receive a $1.5-million contract for the 12-month demonstration portion of the project, with the potential for full implementation during the next five years, should certain milestones be achieved by all parties involved. We look forward to working with the Wadsworth Laboratories and to serving the people of the State of New York.”
For its part, after a definitive agreement is established with DOH and certain milestones are met, ILÚM will be moving its commercial enterprise to Albany, which will create up to 115 new jobs and result in the investment of up to $48.6 million over a period of five years. This plan is contingent upon reaching a milestone at the 12-month mark of the project and a successful demonstration of the efficacy of a pilot program of this screening approach in trial systems. Should the initial test work, the three organizations will expand the program through New York state, and that New York State Life Sciences Initiative will invest $22.4 million into the effort, according to the New York State Governor's website.
"The threat of antimicrobial resistance impacts us all. Innovative public-private partnerships like this one will bring science and communities together to protect the welfare of all citizens," Paul Edwards, managing director of ILÚM, said in a press release. "We will be using health information technology to develop a digital framework that can gather data and information locally, and communicate and enable strategies and programs to combat the threat of resistance state-wide."