A Medical Device Daily

Intralytix (Baltimore, Maryland) reported that it has received a U.S. Army Phase I STTR contract supporting the development of a bacteriophage-based probiotic preparation for managing shigella infections.

"Shigella species are major gastrointestinal (GI) tract pathogens of particular concern to the U.S. Army, and they are a significant worldwide cause of diarrheal disease," stated Alexander Sulakvelidze, Intralytix's Chief Scientist and Principal Investigator for the contract.

He added: "The bacterium has been estimated to cause annually about 90,000 food borne cases of shigellosis in the U.S., and about 165 million cases worldwide. A vast majority of these cases occur in developing countries (including countries where U.S. troops are stationed), causing about 1.1 million deaths annually. The award will enable Intralytix to examine using naturally occurring bacteriophages (or phages) – delivered as part of a probiotic diet – to reduce significantly the incidence and severity of shigellosis.

In other agreements/contracts:

Transgenomic (Omaha, Nebraska) reported that it has licensed a high-sensitivity mutation detection technology called Cold-PCR from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI; Boston, Massachusetts) This variation of the standard PCR technology enriches mutations in DNA samples and is a much more sensitive technique for finding low level mutations in tissue and body fluids that are involved with a variety of diseases. The licensing terms include exclusive rights to commercialize Cold-PCR technology combined with Sanger sequencing as well as all applications for mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Cold-PCR will have applicability in detection of cancer-related mutations where critical mutations are present at a very low percentage compared to normal DNA. Examples would be in blood and urine or where the tissue collected contains mostly normal cells. This would allow clinicians to use less intrusive methods for genetic analysis or allow more efficient use of tumor tissue samples. Additionally the method could enhance the detection of the emergence of cancer-drug resistance mutations, allowing early detection of relapse.

Datatrak International (Cleveland), a technology and services company focused on eClinical solutions for the clinical trials industry, reported the signing of a new client with the award of a study for evaluating the use of a thoracic stent graft in aneurysm repair.

This six year, U.S.-based study will seek to advance the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques for thoracic aortic aneurysms. "Datatrak is excited to work with the leading global provider of innovative devices for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease," said Laurence Birch, Datatrak's chairman. "We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with this new client."