Advanced Biological Laboratories (ABL) is expected to soon begin manufacturing of a compact, portable and affordable test for tuberculosis (TB), designed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope.

Under an expanded licensing agreement with TGen announced today, ABL will make, market and distribute this state-of-the-art TB test, which now covers the known important genes and mutations that cause resistance to current anti-TB drugs. This will help physicians determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient of TB, the world’s leading cause of death from a single infectious agent.

For now, this patented Next Generation Sequencing based TB test — called DeepChek®-TB — is available for research use only. The test is based on years of development at TGen, involving numerous research partners from across the globe.

Thanks to modern medicine, TB in the U.S. continues to be a relatively minor threat. Globally, however, nearly one-fourth of the world’s population is infected with this lung-damaging communicable disease, which is estimated to kill nearly 1.3 million people annually, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The continued partnership between TGen and ABL is allowing for next generation science to be applied to patients suffering from the most important infectious disease of our time,” said Dr. David Engelthaler, Co-Director of TGen’s Pathogen and Microbiome Division. “The combination of TGen’s scientific advancements and ABL’s manufacturing and distribution channels means that someday soon people most at risk, in every corner of the globe, will be able to access the most advanced TB medical information.”

TB remains a major public health threat throughout developing nations and is increasing in some places as mutant versions of this disease become resistant to current drug treatments. Identifying rapidly mutating, drug-resistant strains of TB is one of the greatest challenges to eradicating this disease.

ABL, based in Luxembourg, is a leading integrated diagnostics and medical technology company. Its licensing agreement with TGen will enable ABL to distribute DeepChek®-TB through its worldwide network of clinicians and distributors in more than 80 countries.

“We are extremely pleased to upgrade our DeepChek®-TB test and cover additional resistance-associated mutations, and offer to microbiologists the capacity to perform comprehensive drug susceptibility testing on an exhaustive list of drugs, such as Capreomycin, Streptomycin, Quinolones, Pyrazinamide, Ethambutol, Kanamycin and Linezolid. Considering the extremely simple workflow of the solution, which does not require any library preparation, we expect a strong demand for this test from leading research facilities worldwide,” said Dimitri Gonzalez, Head of Diagnostics at ABL.