Durham, N.C. – (April 20, 2021) – Baebies, a growth-stage company developing innovative products to enable early disease detection and comprehensive diagnosis, announced today that CARB-X has awarded the company up to $11.6 million in non-dilutive funding. This funding will support the development of a near-patient and rapid diagnostic platform for sepsis – specially focused on addressing the unique needs of neonatal and pediatric populations.
The CARB-X award consists of $3.9 million in initial funding with up to $7.7 million of milestone-based funding. CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership, provides funding and support for projects that target drug-resistant bacteria deemed Serious or Urgent on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Antibiotic Resistant Threats list or Critical or High on the World Health Organization’s Priority Bacterial Pathogens list.
Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection caused by bacteria, including drug-resistant bacteria, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis leads to approximately one million newborn deaths per year globally.
“There is a critical need for a rapid and easy-to-use diagnostic platform for bacteremia – especially for the newborn population given the low circulating blood volume available for testing. Through this CARB-X partnership, the development of blood culture and identification of bacteria on our FINDER platform not only enables clinicians to receive results fast, but also conserves the limited blood volume by maximizing the diagnostic yield,” said Vamsee Pamula, Co-Founder and President.
Powered by digital microfluidics technology, Baebies’ FINDER is a fully-automated, single sample testing platform that will be further enhanced to perform blood culture, identification (ID), and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). By integrating blood culture with the microfluidic cartridge, users will be provided information on ID/AST and gram status in real time without the need for any hands-on intervention. In addition to blood culture, the platform will also be able to measure expression levels of various genes from just 125 microliters of whole blood to distinguish between different causes of inflammatory responses.
“Minimizing sample volume is crucial when it comes to testing infants,” added Pamula. “The extra ‘e’ in Baebies demonstrates our commitment to ensure a healthy start for every child, and sepsis is a fatal condition affecting neonates and children everywhere. We are looking forward to applying our technology towards a solution for neonatal and pediatric sepsis.”
The underlying digital microfluidics (DMF) technology is a method to programmably manipulate tiny droplets of liquid by electrical control of surface tension on a disposable cartridge. Powered by DMF technology, Baebies’ FINDER has recently won the prestigious 2020 AACC Disruptive Technology Award and has been named a finalist for the Medical Device Excellence Awards (MDEA) 2021.
“Our FINDER platform is highly versatile covering molecular, immunoassay, hematology, and chemistry assays. Non-dilutive, R&D funding from CARB-X allows expansion of FINDER’s capabilities to blood culture, bringing sophisticated testing to millions of newborns and children in an easy-to-use and rapid format,” said Richard West, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Baebies.
The technologies and capabilities onboard FINDER reduce time-to-result and enable clinicians to make faster, smarter decisions – improving patient outcomes and encouraging antibiotic stewardship.
Baebies – guided by the vision that “everyone deserves a healthy start” – develops and commercializes products and services that enable early disease detection and comprehensive diagnosis. Baebies has shipped over 10 million tests. Baebies’ SEEKER® is an FDA-authorized and CE-marked high throughput newborn screening platform. Recently launched, Baebies’ FINDER SARS-CoV-2 Test and the FINDER 1.5 Instrument are now available for sale in the U.S. – both of which have been validated but FDA’s independent review of this validation is pending. FINDER®, a CE-marked flexible, single sample testing platform for G6PD deficiency, is under FDA 510(k) review and is currently not commercially available in the U.S. Our mission is to save lives and make lives better for all by bringing new technologies, new tests and new hope to children, parents and healthcare professionals worldwide. To further our mission, Baebies also provides expanded newborn screening services from our CLIA-certified laboratory. Baebies is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. For more information, visit baebies.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) is a global non-profit partnership dedicated to supporting early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is led by Boston University and funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services; the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally; Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) funded by the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC); the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the US Department of Health and Human Services. CARB-X is investing up to US$480 million from 2016-2022 to support innovative therapeutics, preventatives and rapid diagnostics. CARB-X funds only projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the WHO, with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list. CARB-X is headquartered at Boston University School of Law. https://carb-x.org/. Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X
- Press Release: Baebies Wins the 2020 AACC Disruptive Technology Award
- Blog Post: 5 Things to Know about Testing with Digital Microfluidics
- Publication: A Novel Point-of-care Device for Measuring Glucose-6-phosphate Dehydrogenase Enzyme Deficiency
- White Paper: Do More With Less: Approaches to Minimize Blood Loss in Critically Ill Newborns and Children