Noscendo GmbH recently opened a branch at the Reutlingen site of the Tübingen-Reutlingen Technology Park (TTR). Its state-of-the-art development and application laboratory identifies the causes of numerous infectious diseases exceptionally fast using next-generation sequencing (NGS) based on the company’s own diagnostics platform, which reliably detects bacteria, DNA viruses, fungi and parasites in patients’ blood samples.
In intensive care medicine, obtaining reliable information quickly is vital in life-threatening situations such as sepsis. The top priority is to be able to speedily administer the right, targeted antibiotic. In the absence of rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment to prevent imminent organ failure, 70,000 of the 300,000 or so cases of sepsis each year in Germany prove fatal. Consequently, it has long been one of the main causes of death in intensive care units. The latest studies show that serious cases of Covid-19 can also lead to sepsis.
The approach to date has been to create cultures from blood samples. These normally have to be “incubated” for up to five days. Even then, the bacterial pathogen is only determined accurately around 30 percent of the time. In the case of other infections – caused, for example, by the Candida fungus, which attacks the mucous membranes – this process can take up to three weeks. With the diagnostic method developed by Noscendo GmbH, the result is available within 24 hours, including precise details as to which bacterium, DNA virus or fungus is causing the problem. This means, for instance, that instead of broad-spectrum antibiotics, an antibiotic or antimycotic tailored to the pathogen can then be administered. In addition to minimising the side-effects, this also allows the patient to be released far sooner. The method thus relieves the considerable strain on the healthcare system, which isn’t limited to the current coronavirus crisis.
The pilot studies are complete and the procedure is already being used in maximum-care hospitals throughout Germany. These hospitals send the samples to the laboratory in Reutlingen, where they are tested under the direction of Noscendo’s co-founder Dr. Silke Grumaz and the relevant data is worked up. Special bioinformatics evaluation algorithms are then used to analyse this data. The software has been a CE-certified medical device since 2019.
There are plans to increase the size of the laboratory team. “We decided on this location because its proximity to scientific institutions in the STERN BioRegion and the University of Tübingen ensures the availability of highly qualified staff and opens the way for further research cooperation,” explains Dr. Marcus Benz, COO of Noscendo GmbH.
As Standortagentur Neckar-Alb Managing Director Dr. Markus Nawroth sees it, the arrival of the high-tech company founded in Duisburg in 2018 is highly significant: “The current pandemic isn’t alone in demonstrating the importance of fast and reliable medical diagnostics. We’re delighted to have another life science company based in the Neckar-Alb region in the shape of Noscendo.”