Day Zero Diagnostics Fight Antibiotic Resistance With Benchtop Analyzer And AI

Day Zero Diagnostics Fight Antibiotic Resistance With Benchtop Analyzer And AI

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health and the current diagnostic process is antiqued and ineffective. When a patient shows up with a suspected infection, samples are sent to the lab where they are smeared onto a petri dish, cultured and tested for drug resistance. The process can take several days, and every hour a patient goes untreated the risk of complications increases. With little to no information on the infection, physicians are forced to use powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics that are expensive, have significant toxicity and contribute to the growing epidemic of resistance.

The Boston-based startup Day Zero Diagnostics is determined to modernize how we diagnose infections. They combine whole genome sequencing, machine learning and big data to within hours identify the species and the antibiotic resistance profile of a pathogen. The technology includes a benchtop analyzer with single-use sample preparation cartridges. The system isolates and enriches bacterial DNA from the same sample that is typically sent to the lab, enabling sequencing without the need to wait for culture. The resulting genomes are analyzed using a cloud-based analytics platform, with the startup’s proprietary Keynome algorithm, allowing physicians within hours to choose the antibiotic that is best suited against the patient’s infection.

Current diagnostic tests force physicians to make decisions based on limited or nonspecific information, leading to overtreatment. Many patients receive antibiotics without even knowing if their infection is caused by a bacteria or a virus. This leads to unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, may cause adverse events and contribute to the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

Day Zero Diagnostics has developed an innovative technology that speed the diagnosis process, leading to faster and more targeted treatments. It could play an important part of public health strategies, rapidly identifying the cause of infection, determining whether it is resistant to first-line treatment, and curbing the emergence of drug resistance by encouraging a smarter use of antibiotics. By allowing doctors to target the right drug to the right patient, the technology could significantly lower costs. It will eliminate the need for additional tests, reduce the length of hospital stays, and quickly put control measures in place to prevent the infection from spreading to others. It could lead to improved health outcomes, faster recovery and increased survival for millions around the world.

The startup was founded in 2016 by Jong Lee, Doug Kwon, Melis Anahtar, Miriam Huntley and Dougal Maclaurin. They have since been accepted into the Harvard Innovation Labs, Pagliuca Havard Life Lab,  and won several competitions, including Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition and Fueling the Growth Pitch Competition. Day Zero has also been part of the 2017 MassChallenge Boston accelerator program and won the top prize in 2017 MedTech Innovator global competition. In August, 2017, the startup announced they had completed a $3 million seed financing round to support prototype development of their diagnostic platform, with Golden Seeds and Sands Capital Ventures as lead investors.