PlexBio said it plans to expand its 16-month-old collaboration with Denka by adding a new program in which the companies will codevelop a molecular diagnostic system designed to detect infectious disease.

The companies envision a high-efficiency and high-accuracy system for rapid pathogenic microorganism identification that will initially include tests for sepsis and multidrug resistance (MDR) aimed at faster and more sensitive detection. The overall diagnostic protocol for sepsis relies primarily on culture methods and usually takes two days or longer to complete—a timeframe PlexBio and Denka aim to shorten.

PlexBio said a full menu of infectious disease assays will be planned through the expanded collaboration, whose value was not disclosed.

The tests will use PlexBio’s proprietary multiplex πCode MicroDisc technology, which according to PlexBio is the largest commercially available multiplexing platform. πCode MicroDisc is designed to generate more than 16,000 circular image patterns—each corresponding to an individual target that can be detected simultaneously via the advanced optical imaging and fluorescence reading. The system uses probes designed for detection of DNA, RNA, antigens, antibodies, proteins, or chemical compounds.

Established in 2010, Plexbio designs, develops, and manufactures in vitro diagnostic products and instrumentation. The company is headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, with an affiliate location in China’s Jiangsu province and an Innovative Technology Center in South San Francisco, CA.

Denka was founded in 1915 and consists of businesses that include Denka Seiken, a subsidiary under Denka’s Life Innovative Division that manufactures vaccines and diagnostic reagents in areas that include bacteriology, virology, clinical chemistry, and immunochemistry. Denka is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

For Denka, the collaboration reflects an expansion of its healthcare business beyond illness prevention and early diagnosis, into gene alteration analysis as well as cancer treatment—part of the company’s “Denka Value Up,” strategic management plan for its 2018–2022 fiscal years.

The companies first partnered in September 2016, when they inked a business alliance agreement granting Denka exclusive marketing rights for PlexBio’s IntelliPlex® protein and gene measurement system in Japan and the region encompassing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Denka also gained rights to develop and sell diagnostic reagents for that system.

Since then, PlexBio and Denka said, they have acted to incorporate PlexBio’s πCode MicroDisc technology into a number of product development applications.

“The new codevelopment program is projected to contribute significant revenue from ID and MDR testing starting from the planned introduction year of 2022,” PlexBio said, without offering specifics.

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