7 January 2019, Peter Williams
This article originally appeared in The Australian, print and online, on 7th January 2019. View the original here on The Australian Website.
Brisbane medical diagnostics company Ellume has received a $US15 million ($21m) investment from German biotech Qiagen as part of a broader strategic partnership between the two companies to detect tuberculosis.
Clinical trials for a tuberculosis testing solution will begin this year with commercialisation next year.
The companies are targeting Asia, Africa and Latin America, which suffer from high rates of the bacterial infection.
A group of 30 countries in the three regions represent 85 per cent of all tuberculosis cases, according to World Health Organisation data.
“We are confident that Ellume’s technology will assist Qiagen with detection of TB infections, leading to earlier identification and more effective treatment and containment in low-resource, high-burden countries,” Ellume founder and managing director Sean Parsons said ahead of today’s formal announcement of the partnership.
The new partnership follows a deal in December with pharmaceutical giant GSK for digital consumer products focused on respiratory care. The company chief said then that he would seek a market listing in the next 12 to 18 months to attract the capital needed to scale up the commercialisation of the professional-use product in the US.
The Qiagen tie-up includes the use of Ellume’s intellectual property and aims to detect latent tuberculosis where a bacterial infection is present but produces no symptoms unless it moves to an active disease.
The companies may look to expand to focus on other illnesses coincident with the disease, such as HIV. “To have this second partnership with a company such as Qiagen is a real validation of the technology we’ve created over the past five years,” Dr Parsons said. He said the technology integrated a diagnosis and the tests made in that diagnosis with a pathway for the best treatment for an illness.
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