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MetaPanel diagnostic test launched in Australia with Sonic Healthcare

Microba Life Sciences is pleased to announce that the MetaPanel™ product is officially launching to healthcare professionals today. This launch delivers on the agreement signed and announced to the ASX on 5 July 2023 with Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) through a wholly owned subsidiary Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology Pty Ltd, to distribute Microba’s advanced gastrointestinal pathogen test MetaPanel™ in Australia.

Microba’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Luke Reid said, “The launch of this world-first accredited metagenomic diagnostic test with Sonic Healthcare, one of the largest and most trusted medical diagnostic companies, is a significant milestone for the company. From the foundations of Microba’s world leading metagenomic technology, the Company has been investing in diagnostic product development at the forefront of the medical application of microbial genomics and microbiome analysis information for many years. The launch of MetaPanel, taken together with the launch of MetaXplore last year, has now solidified the Company’s strategic advancement into a medical diagnostics company. Australia, through the Sonic Healthcare network, is the first region to distribute Microba’s technology, with plans to deliver our testing products into additional markets across the globe. With this significant advancement in the standard of care, I am excited by the impact we can deliver to patients over the years ahead”.

A video presentation by Microba CEO Dr Luke Reid

Key points:

  • Gut discomfort is experienced at least once a year by much of the population. A common cause is infection with a gastrointestinal pathogen.
  • Existing tests are only able to diagnose 10-22 pathogens, often leading to misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis.
  • There has not been a major disruption to this diagnostic category since PCR began clinical use in 1990s.
  • MetaPanel is a world-first NATA accredited metagenomic diagnostic test for diagnosing common and difficult-to-identify gastrointestinal pathogens that cause infection, covering 175 pathogen targets in a single test.
  • The product has been developed over 5 years by Microba using the Company’s advanced metagenomic technology together with Infectious Disease experts and Sonic Healthcare’s leading molecular biology & microbiology team.
  • The test is now exclusively available through the network of Sonic Healthcare pathology practices across Australia.

About the Gastrointestinal Pathogen diagnostic landscape

Infection from a gastrointestinal pathogen is highly prevalent. It is estimated that there are over 17 million cases of gastrointestinal pathogen illness in Australia alone, every year. People get infected from food, water, person-to-person, and the environment. Standard diagnostic tests, including microscopy, culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), can only detect <20% of clinically relevant pathogens. Misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis has significant consequences on patient quality of life, risk of mortality, and adds significant costs to the healthcare system. There has not been a major disruption to this diagnostic category since PCR began clinical use in the 1990s. In Australia alone, it is estimated that there are ~1m stool multiplex PCR tests ordered to diagnose gastrointestinal pathogens each year. 

About MetaPanel™ Test

MetaPanel™ is the most comprehensive pathogen test available for diagnosing common and difficult-to-identify gastrointestinal pathogens that cause infection. The test is accredited by NATA and is classified as a Class 2 In-house IVD. Using a single faecal sample, MetaPanel can detect 175 specific targets, including 100 pathogens, 15 toxins (which increase the chance a bacteria will cause disease), and 60 antibiotic resistance genes (to enable the doctor to use the most targeted antibiotic treatment available). Every result is reviewed by expert pathologists with personalised interpretation and treatment recommendations.

The test was developed intimately over many years together with clinical microbiologists and infectious disease experts to design the target list and support clinical validation, including the Sonic Healthcare Douglass Hanly Moir team – one of the most highly respected and high-quality pathology service teams in Australia; and leading clinician Professor Paul Griffin, Director of Infectious Diseases at the Mater Hospital Brisbane.

Click here to access MetaPanel™