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Vitas Pharma Receives Discovery Award for Developing Prototype Diagnostic Test

Vitas Pharma, an R&D driven company focused on developing drugs and diagnostics to detect and treat multidrug resistant infections, has received a Discovery Award, to develop its diagnostic product for the rapid detection of bacterial infections.

The Discovery Awards are small seed grants to help teams and individuals further develop their ideas for the Longitude Prize. The Awards ceremony, held at the Royal Society, London recently was presided over by Sir Martin Rees, Chair of the Longitude Prize committee and Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, England.

Vitas Pharma is incubated in the Technology Business Incubator, University of Hyderabad and IKP Knowledge Park. The company has prototyped a molecular test that detects the presence of bacteria with high specificity and sensitivity. This low cost, 45 minute assay is easy to perform and amplifies bacterial sequences without the need for expensive equipment. It is envisioned that the kit will ultimately consist of 3 tests per sample and will flag the presence of bacteria in 30 minutes. Unlike other currently available tests, this assay combines speed and accuracy combined with a low cost.

Dr Radha Rangarajan, CEO, Vitas Pharma said, “Infections caused by multidrug resistant bacteria are a major public health concern globally. To curb the spread of resistance, tests that enable the appropriate use of antibiotics, are a critical need. Our test will be simple, affordable and rapid, thus allowing physicians to make data-driven decisions on prescribing antibiotics.”

Antibiotics have played a vital role in improving human health: WHO estimates that antibiotics add an average of 20 years to an individual’s lives. However, the largely empirical use of antibiotics, has led to its inappropriate use, contributing to the emergence of drug resistance. Longitude Prize is a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve one of the greatest issues of current times. The Longitude prize was instituted by the British Government to reward a team or individual that develops a diagnostic test for bacterial infections that is cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use and allows health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

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