Image: The ALT point-of-care diagnostic test developed by Nanjing BioPoint
A point-of-care (POC) test developed by Burnet Institute spinoff company, Nanjing BioPoint Diagnostic Technology (Nanjing BioPoint) to detect liver disease has been recognised as an example of ‘China Good Technology’ by the China Association of Productivity Promotion Centres (CAPPC).
The test for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), an enzyme which can indicate liver disease or damage, was one of only seven biotechnology or medical technology innovations among the final list of 108 products across China for 2016.
The test had earlier been recognized as one of 50 ‘Jiangsu Good Technology’ innovations, and was then selected from a shortlist of 286 products for national level recognition.
Simple methods to detect liver disease at the point-of-care (POC) are urgently needed as part of the worldwide effort to eliminate hepatitis C, and hepatitis B infection.
IMAGE: The Nanjing BioPoint team (L-R) Dr Fan Li, Mr Aaron Zhu, Ms Sophie Wang, Ms Joyce Kong, Associate Professor David Anderson, Dr Feng Yi, Ms Maggie Zhang
Such POC tests are likely to prove useful for many other diseases, including the detection of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the monitoring of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, and drug toxicity in tuberculosis therapy.
In 2016, Nanjing BioPoint completed the initial development of a prototype POC test for ALT to address this unmet need.
Burnet Institute Deputy Director and CEO of Nanjing BioPoint Diagnostics, Associate Professor David Anderson, said the urgent need for a point-of-care test for ALT was an important stimulus for Burnet’s establishment of Nanjing BioPoint in 2013.
“This project has been the focus of our collaborative R&D since that time and includes laboratory teams and clinical collaborators in Melbourne and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province,” Associate Professor Anderson said.
IMAGE: Global Health Diagnostics Laboratory researchers Mary Garcia and Huy Van
“This test posed very significant challenges during development, so we are excited to bring it to reality, combining Australian and Chinese expertise, and now supported with our own manufacturing capability established at Nanjing BioPoint.
“The recognition of this innovative test as ‘China Good Technology’ reinforces our view on its importance to improving health outcomes for millions of people in China and worldwide.”
Associate Professor Anderson paid credit to the persistence of key R&D team members Mary Garcia, Huy Van and Zhimei (Maggie) Zhang, the wider BioPoint team including Dr Fan Li and Dr Feng Yi, Burnet Institute, and investment partners Beijing GuoMinXinHe Investment Fund Co. Ltd.
“Together with our colleagues across the Burnet’s Disease Elimination Program, we look forward to commencing field studies on the use of the ALT test later this year, initially in patients infected with hepatitis C where it is important to determine the level of liver disease in order to guide appropriate antiviral therapy,” he said.