The emergence of microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial treatments is becoming a growing threat to public health. Threatening the effective treatment of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance places a tremendous burden on healthcare systems and society, with an annual cost estimated at approximately €1.5 billion in the EU, according to the European Medicines Agency.
Conquering emerging antibiotic resistance is the mission of Ares Genetics GmbH. The digital diagnostics start-up was a EIT Health European Health Catapult semifinalist in 2019 with their idea of targeting infectious disease diagnostics and therapeutics with artificial-intelligence-based DNA testing.
Based on their proprietary ARES Technology platform that combines GEAR with proprietary data analysis & interpretation solutions, Ares Genetics develops and commercializes novel approaches to improve the rapid detection of pathogens and their resistance to antibiotics in patients with microbial infections as well as tools to accelerate antibiotic research. On 28 October 2019, the company announced an early access program for its novel, artificial intelligence (AI) powered, next-generation sequencing (NGS) based molecular antibiotic susceptibility test (AST). The molecular AST will be marketed under the brand name ARESupa – Universal Pathogenome Assay, and it represents an expanded version of the NGS-based ARESupa initially launched in August 2019 for the identification of pathogens and resistance genes.
According to the company, the latest version of the ARESupa can predict antibiotic susceptibility accurately due to an AI-powered interpretation of high-throughput DNA sequencing data. Based on whole-genome sequencing of bacterial strains that have been isolated from clinical specimens, ARESupa also combines data analysis and interpretation powered by ARESdb, which is the firm’s proprietary reference database on genetic antimicrobial resistance markers.
The broader commercialization of the AI-powered antibiotic susceptibility test is anticipated to begin in early 2020 and the test will be initially offered for non-diagnostic applications in epidemiology, infection control, and outbreak analysis for customers in the public health sector and the pharmaceutical industry.