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ARLG renewal to enable ongoing development of Predigen's test for bacterial/viral discrimination

Predigen, Inc., a spin-out from Duke University, is developing a host response test to accurately discriminate bacterial from viral acute respiratory infections in collaboration with the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently renewed funding for the ARLG for seven years starting with $15 million in 2020. This award was administered by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease to co-principal investigators Vance Fowler of Duke University and Henry ‘Chip’ Chambers of the University of California, San Francisco.

According to Ephraim Tsalik, MD, PhD, one of Predigen’s co-founders and faculty at Duke University School of Medicine, this award from ARLG will support ongoing efforts for the planned FDA submission of Predigen’s host response test to enable physicians to better distinguish viral from bacterial infections and thereby ensure appropriate prescription antibiotic medications. “Host response is an innovative solution for this problem because we are measuring the human response to infection, and there are very different genetic signatures for a bacterial response and a viral response. Our work to understand these signatures has enabled us to accurately determine if a patient is responding to a specific category of infection: viral or bacterial,” said Dr. Tsalik. “With this information, we can make better choices about use of antibiotics.”

The challenge of differentiating bacterial, viral, and noninfectious etiologies of respiratory illness is universal and contributes to global antibiotic overuse, increasing antibiotic resistance, and costly side effects. In the United States, studies have shown that the majority of clinic and emergency department visits for suspected respiratory tract infection including common colds and viral sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections led to a prescription for antibiotics, despite most cases having a viral etiology where antibiotics offer no benefit. As a result, there are more than 40 million excess antibiotic prescriptions each year that put patients at increased and unnecessary risk for adverse reactions. A diagnostic test that can accurately and rapidly identify the cause of acute respiratory illness will individualize care and mitigate inappropriate antibiotic use.

“Distinguishing bacterial and viral respiratory infections has long been a challenge. Every inappropriate use of an antibiotic serves to diminish the potency of our remaining antibiotic armamentarium by enabling drug resistance, and we need better tools to aid prescribers in the selection of antibiotics, antivirals, and standard cold care remedies,” said Chris Woods, MD, MPH, a Predigen co-founder and Chief, Infectious Diseases Division, Durham VA Health Care System. “A trusted test that helps health care providers in treatment selection will also give surety to patients and parents that they or their loved ones are receiving the appropriate medication. We’re looking to increase awareness of the need to reduce overuse of antibiotics while providing confidence in our means of doing so.”

About Predigen

Predigen, Inc. is a global leader in the development of host gene expression signatures for use as prognostic, diagnostic, and therapeutic monitoring tools. Predigen is devoted to advancing the diagnostics field in areas of high unmet need, including infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune and inflammatory disease, cancer and drug response.

For more information on Predigen, please visit the company’s website at or contact

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