The UK NHS National Institute for Health Research in June 2018 have offered Professor Bill Newman an Invention for Innovation programme grant to work with Genedrive plc to develop and implement a point-of-care test in the NHS to avoid antibiotic-related hearing loss in newborn children.
Due to an identified genetic predisposition, certain individuals develop irreversible hearing loss when exposed to gentamicin, an antibiotic used to treat several types of bacterial infections. In the UK, approximately 90,000 babies per year are treated with gentamicin on intensive care units. Antibiotic treatment should start within the first hour after admission, but current lab-based genetic tests are not able to return actionable results within that timeframe. A Genedrive® test is targeted to allow genetic results to be available within an hour, allowing alternative antibiotics to be used and thus avoiding the potential life changing adverse reaction to gentamicin. The project is expected to commence immediately, with an expected development phase of one year followed by a trial implementation phase in selected NHS hospitals in year two. The Company will then target the release of a Genedrive® test within the NHS and more broadly. The consortium will be led by William Newman, Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine at the University of Manchester and Consultant at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. The team includes partners from Liverpool and Manchester Neonatal Intensive Care Units and is working closely with parents of children previously treated on intensive care units. Professor William Newman said: "We look forward to working with genedrive and our colleagues in Manchester and Liverpool to assess the impact of rapid genetic testing as a method of avoiding irreversible hearing loss in babies treated with antibiotics. Successful implementation would be a first in the integration of a rapid decision making, genetic-based diagnostic in the UK NHS." David Budd, Chief Executive Officer of genedrive plc, said: "The application of Genedrive® in an urgent healthcare setting is an excellent example of how a rapid, affordable, point-of-care test could impact patients' treatment and quality of life. The NHS is a huge market place and, if adopted, this would be the first placement of Genedrive® in a developed world healthcare setting.