Press Release

Project Overview

Antrum Biotech, a healthcare innovations company dedicated to acquiring, developing and commercialising novel diagnostic platforms for infectious diseases, announces the launch of IRISATM-TB, an immuno-suspension assay for diagnosis of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB; a type of TB that occurs outside of the lung).

Challenge & Solution

Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a highly infectious disease and is the foremost infectious disease killer globally. EPTB requires rapid diagnosis and treatment, but is notoriously difficult to diagnose. This new diagnostic test, supported by clinical studies in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe has demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity when used for the diagnosis of EPTB. IRISATM-TB aims to deliver improved time to treatment for positively diagnosed persons and hence improved healthcare of persons that suffer from symptoms related to EPTB, particularly those from resource-poor settings where the TB burden is high.

‘We discovered a gap in extra-pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosis for which current frontline DNA-based tests perform poorly. EPTB comprises ~15% to 20% of TB cases and in HIV endemic countries this value increases to approximately ~35%. We set out to address this issue, and developed a clinically validated immunoassay platform called IRISATM-TB’, explains Antrum Biotech CEO, Ms Khilona Radia.

IRISATM-TB is a rapid, accurate and high impact immuno-suspension assay that is fully compatible with standard laboratory infrastructure. The diagnostic assay targets all EPTB sub-types (TB serositis and TB meningitis) and has been clinically validated in multiple countries (data published). For example, it is the most accurate diagnostic test for pleural TB, the most common form of EPTB.

Key advantages:

  • Result in under 2 hours
  • Both rule-in and rule-out for all forms of extra-pulmonary TB (sensitive and specific)
  • Suitable for single or multiple samples
  • Higher sensitivity than frontline DNA-based diagnostic tests

Antrum Biotech’s approach from initial hypothesis, to methodology and platform development demonstrates their expertise in the field and lays down the foundation for several future novel diagnostic platforms.

The Company:

Antrum Biotech, a start-up within the University of Cape Town, aims at commercialising health-related developments originating within the company and from the University. Their key expertise is in developing rapid diagnostic platforms for infectious diseases. The company’s diagnostic and scientific expertise has allowed the Antrum Biotech team to address unmet needs in diagnostic platform development.