Lab Canada

Novel genetic test the focus of collaboration agreement

Toronto, ON – Genetic test developer Tm Bioscience says it has signed an agreement with McMaster University to collaborate on the development of an upper respiratory viral panel using its technology.

Dr Jim Mahony, director of the McMaster University Regional Virology And Chlamydiology Laboratory and a professor in the department of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster, is developing a prototype assay with assistance from the company.

Once the prototype is validated by McMaster University, the panel will be further developed and commercially launched by Tm. The company says it expects the prototype to be finalized by the end of 2005, with a commercial launch of the validated product likely in 2006. Examples of viruses that would be included in the panel are respiratory syncitial virus (RSV), SARS corona virus and influenza virus A/B.

“Respiratory flu viruses affect millions of people each year and can lead to serious complications such as bacterial super infections and pneumonia. A gene-based test would allow healthcare providers to more rapidly and accurately detect infected patients and take appropriate measures to treat and reduce the spread of the disease,” says Dr Jim Mahony. “Because a significant number of DNA/RNA sequences would need to be assessed in order to identify the correct virus, and because there is high variability as to which viruses prevail for a given flu season, the flexibility and high multiplexing capabilities of the universal array approach are essential for a test of this nature to be of value.”

“Dr Mahony is a renowned viral specialist with considerable experience in molecular testing and is the ideal partner for Tm to further access the large infectious disease testing market,” says Greg Hines, president and CEO of Tm Bioscience. “This agreement demonstrates our model of collaborating with partners who have complementary expertise and resources in order to develop tests targeting novel markets without significantly impacting our resources.”

Dr Mahony is a member of numerous professional organizations including the Canadian Society of Microbiologists, the Canadian Association of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He was recently elected president of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology. He is also a member of Tm Bioscience’s scientific advisory board.