Public investments in the development of GeneXpert molecular diagnostic technology.
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AbstractBackground: The GeneXpert diagnostic platform from the US based company Cepheid is an automated molecular diagnostic device that performs sample preparation and pathogen detection within a single cartridge-based assay. GeneXpert devices can enable diagnosis at the district level without the need for fully equipped clinical laboratories, are simple to use, and offer rapid results. Due to these characteristics, the platform is now widely used in low- and middle-income countries for diagnosis of diseases such as TB and HIV. Assays for SARS-CoV-2 are also being rolled out. We aimed to quantify public sector investments in the development of the GeneXpert platform and Cepheid's suite of cartridge-based assays. Methods: Public funding data were collected from the proprietor company's financial filings, grant databases, review of historical literature concerning key laboratories and researchers, and contacting key public sector entities involved in the technology's development. The value of research and development (R&D) tax credits was estimated based on financial filings. Results: Total public investments in the development of the GeneXpert technology were estimated to be $252 million, including >$11 million in funding for work in public laboratories leading to the first commercial product, $56 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, $73 million from other U.S. government departments, $67 million in R&D tax credits, $38 million in funding from non-profit and philanthropic organizations, and $9.6 million in small business 'springboard' grants. Conclusion: The public sector has invested over $250 million in the development of both the underlying technologies and the GeneXpert diagnostic platform and assays, and has made additional investments in rolling out the technology in countries with high burdens of TB. The key role played by the public sector in R&D and roll-out stands in contrast to the lack of public sector ability to secure affordable pricing and maintenance
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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