COUNTRY: Portugal



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Cidalia Pina Vaz


Flow cytometry Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test for Veterinary.

One Health action plan against Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is motivated by the need for the EU to play a leading role. Its overarching goal is to preserve the possibility of effective treatment of infections both in humans and animals. In recent years, the increasing emergence of resistance to antibiotics has led to less effective treatment of common bacterial infections. AMR increases as a consequence of multiple mechanisms of resistance in expanding bacterial populations and selection pressure from antibiotic use, which provides a competitive advantage for those strains. Current antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) methods have a turnaround time of at least 24 hours, and lead to delayed and inadequate treatment decisions. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a fast and accurate AST method.

FASTinov is a spin-off company from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto that developed an innovative method for AST promising a revolution on medical microbiology. These novel AST tests will
employ flow cytometry and yield accurate results within ~1 hour. This will enable clinicians to begin optimal antibiotic treatment sooner, with a major impact on health and quality of life of patients impacting on health costs. FASTinov has already developed two novel prototypes for rapid and accurate AST of both Gram-positive and Gramnegative bacteria. These innovative tests take advantage of the fact that antibiotic drugs cause changes in the bacteria phenotype. These changes can be measured well before effects on bacterial
growth (i.e. the read-out of current methods) become apparent. Phenotypic changes, are detected by flow cytometry, and antibiotic drug efficacy can thus be quickly evaluated. These specific changes can be measured using different fluorescent probes.

Using this method, AST can be performed either directly on a positive blood culture or on bacterial cultures. Those tests have already a TRL of 7 or 8 in the Medical field and its applications to other fields like veterinary is obvious a need. At this point the TRL in the veterinary sector is low we intend to transfer the know-how to the sector of destination.

The early detection of resistance to antimicrobials would potentially save a lot of animals, avoid the use
of antimicrobial drugs with evident economic impact but also on environment and human health.

About the company

FASTinov S.A. is a multidisciplinary team with scientific expertise in microbiology and dedicated flow cytometry techniques, combined with the extensive knowledge of current needs in the field of infectious diseases. As it was born on the Faculty of Medicine and as the founders are majority medical doctors the development of those novel AST kits were applied in human infections.

The team was created by 3 microbiology Professors but it is now composed by 5 full time workers (3 PhD and 2 masters). Additional two consultants, expert in translation of the technology to the market, belong more recently to the team.

Recently the FTI-pilot 2016 creates a consortium network that allow the scale-up of the company.

Human and animal health is closely related and influences each other. Regarding the company´s strategy is an excellent opportunity to grow, enlarge the number of kits and have a greater economic impact.

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