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Tangen Biosciences Awarded a Contract for Point-of-Care Detection of Candida auris

Tangen Biosciences, Inc. announced that it was awarded a contract by the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center in conjunction with Health Research Inc. to develop a point-of-care device for detection of Candida auris, a “superbug” that is resistant to anti-fungal drugs and is emerging as a public health threat. According to the CDC, New York State has the most Candida auris cases in the United States. Tangen™ was selected as one of the three awardees for this contract to join forces with the Wadsworth Center to fight against this drug resistant fungus. Tangen will independently develop a skin-swab based Candida auris assay running on its portable GeneSparkTM instrument and will also develop a swab-based Candida auris test for environmental surveillance.

Tangen has developed a molecular diagnostic platform called TangenDx™ – a small footprint, rapid, highly sensitive, and low-cost system. TangenDx is composed of an assay kit and a GeneSpark analyzer. The TangenDx has been developed for rapid diagnosis of bloodstream candida infections, bacterial infections including Bacillus anthracis, and an antimicrobial-resistant panel directly from whole blood in less than one hour. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tangen has focused on developing a point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 assay and intends to submit an Emergency Use Authorization notification to FDA within the next month. Tangen’s new contract with Wadsworth Center is expected to further expand Tangen’s product pipeline to include a clinical as well as an environmental Candida auris test. The high sensitivity, portability, and speed provided by the TangenDx platform is expected to facilitate a faster and more accurate diagnosis of Candida auris, allowing for an improved response to outbreaks of this threat.

The current Tangen bloodstream candida panel used on the TangenDx can detect fewer than 5 CFU/ml of the five most prevalent Candidiasis species in less than one hour from a whole blood sample without culture. “We are building upon the foundation of Tangen’s existing Candida Bloodstream Infection diagnostic assay, and predict we can rapidly develop a Candida auris test for both blood and skin swab samples with very low risk and achieve high sensitivity and specificity,” Dr. John Davidson, Chief Scientific Officer of Tangen and the Principle Investigator of this contract, stated. “Rapidly detecting Candida auris is crucial to control its spread in hospitals and the community, including nursing homes, which have been identified as incubators for this superbug. We are excited to work with the Wadsworth Center to address this very important public health issue."

“New York State’s continued support continues to advance the nation’s efforts to control this fungus that predominantly affects an already vulnerable population, including those in nursing homes and people with compromised immune systems,” said Jill Taylor, Ph.D., Director of the Wadsworth Center. “We look forward to working with Tangen to bring this important tool to frontline health care settings.”

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