LexaGene Holdings, Inc., (the “Company”), a biotechnology company that develops genetic analyzers for rapid pathogen detection and other molecular markers, announced today the test results from its first beta prototype placed at the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital (Mass Vet) in Woburn, MA. Mass Vet is one of 24 hospitals owned and operated by Ethos Veterinary Health.
LexaGene’s test results were found to be >98% concordant with reference laboratory generated data. On average, four samples were processed per day, with infections caused by E. coli, Proteus, and Staphylococcus. During the study, the LexaGene test results correctly confirmed that 56% of the animals tested did not need antibiotics.
For the beta test trial, veterinarians at Mass Vet used LexaGene’s genetic analyzer to determine the cause of an infection and whether antibiotic resistance factors were present that could influence therapy decisions. They focused on processing canine and feline urine samples, but were given the opportunity to load other sample types onto the instrument such as swabs from surgical incisions, cervical swellings, and neck and chest wounds.
Dr. Sam Stewart DVM, DACVECC, Commercialization Scientist Fellow at Ethos Veterinary Health reports:
LexaGene’s analyzer is really going to be a game changer. Our team’s enthusiasm for this technology has been so overwhelming, we’ve asked LexaGene to allow some of our other hospitals to beta test the technology.”
Emergency veterinarians are frustrated that there are no easy-to-use instruments to rapidly and accurately detect infectious diseases inside the hospital. This is a problem, as there are many conditions and diseases that may or may not be caused by an infectious organism. For example, the symptom of incontinence in a dog could be due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder cancer, kidney or bladder stones, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, prostate gland disease, and relative estrogen withdrawal.”
Dr. Jack Regan, CEO and Founder, LexaGene
Due to the difficulty of diagnosing a UTI on symptoms alone, only ~17.5% of urine samples submitted for reference laboratory testing come back as positive for at least one bacterial isolate.
“In the absence of rapid diagnostics, veterinarians currently treat animals empirically with antibiotics based on symptoms. The cost of a two-week antibiotic course is roughly $200 depending on the size of the animal and the chosen therapy. If the statistics of this beta trial remain consistent for an entire year, we would predict >$150K could be unnecessarily spent on antibiotics across all the dogs and cats seen at Mass Vet during the year,” said Dr. Jack Regan, CEO and Founder of LexaGene
The practice of prescribing antibiotics without certainty regarding the cause of symptoms can lead to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Many of these strains are now resistant to multiple antibiotics (i.e. superbugs). In-hospital, rapid and accurate diagnostics are needed to improve more responsible antibiotic use in veterinary practice.
Our team has been thrilled to have the opportunity to use LexaGene’s beta prototype, which returns results in about one hour versus three or more days for reference laboratory generated tests. Having this information so quickly allows us to improve the quality of care – which is our highest goal. We look forward to continuing our work with LexaGene to conduct further validation studies, publish a peer-reviewed manuscript, and help bring this product to market.”
Dr. Chand Khanna DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Onc), DACVP (Hon), Chief Science Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health and President of Ethos Discovery