NTS Ventures (NTS), a mycology and antifungal clinical research laboratory and International Health Management Associates, Inc./IHMA Europe Sàrl (IHMA), a full-service central anti-infective clinical microbiology laboratory have announced a collaborative agreement that will provide the pharmaceutical industry with a brand-new antifungal resistance surveillance program termed STAR. In addition to the expertise provided by NTS and IHMA, STAR is heavily supported through affiliations with key opinion leader (KOL) laboratories throughout the world. As antifungal resistance rises and epidemiology changes, STAR will intimately monitor fluctuations and trends in antifungal resistance and epidemiology over time. It will be an excellent tool to serve authorities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the relentless fight against antifungal drug resistance. The clinical isolates prospectively collected through STAR will include all major yeasts (including the emerging pathogen Candida auris) and filamentous fungi, such as Aspergillus spp. as well as the rarer and highly invasive mold species such as Mucor spp., Rhizopus spp., among others.
The development of new antifungal agents is increasing. Consequently, STAR will support these drugs to ensure the fight against antifungal resistance will be more efficient and to gain precious time in reducing and eventually eliminating new resistance. The agreement between NTS and IHMA will allow all pharmaceutical and biotech companies access to the STAR program in a cost- and time-effective manner. “The STAR program is a one of a kind surveillance initiative profiling serious fungal infections, including Candida auris and Aspergillus, against common and experimental antifungals under development,” said Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, Founder of NTS Ventures.