Accelr8 Hosts Annual Shareholders' Meeting and Announces Key Development Milestones

Dec 14, 2006, 00:00 ET from Accelr8 Technology Corporation

    DENVER, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Accelr8 Technology
 Corporation (Amex:   AXK) announced the results of internal pilot studies for
 its prototype rapid bacterial identification systems at its annual
 shareholders' meeting held in Denver. The studies are part of a major
 milestone in preparing to work with patient specimens. The company is
 developing the new BACcelr8r(TM) platform to rapidly analyze organisms that
 cause life-threatening infections in critically ill patients. In
 particular, Accelr8 initially targets ventilator associated pneumonia
 (VAP), the leading cause of mortality from hospital acquired infection
 (HAI). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates
 that at least 90,000 patients die each year from HAI. Of these, VAP
 mortality represents more than half. Medical experts believe that each of
 these cases of "attributable mortality" could have been treated
 successfully if adequate antibiotics had been started as initial therapy.
 Published sources estimate that approximately 300,000 confirmed cases of
 VAP occur annually in the US.
     The company plans to identify organisms that belong in each of three
 major antibiotic resistance categories. They cover most of the difficult
 forms of resistance encountered with VAP. The pilot studies provided
 initial demonstrations of success for the first two of these major
 categories. The first new method identifies strains of "MRSA," or
 methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. News reports often refer to
 this type of bacterium as a "super-bug" because of its broad range of
 antibiotic resistance. It is a highly resistant form of the common bacteria
 that cause "Staph" infections. MRSA first emerged in the early 1960s, and
 has spread to now account for more than half of all hospital acquired Staph
 infections in most cities.
     The new test developed by Accelr8 identified the MRSA strain in less
 than three hours. The company's goal is six hours or less. Conventional
 tests typically require at least 24 hours, which is too late to help the
 physician assure adequate initial therapy.
     The second test identifies different organisms that resist important
 broad-spectrum antibiotics known as "beta-lactam" antibiotics. This second
 category includes strains that produce "extended spectrum beta-lactamase"
 enzymes, or ESBLs. This form of resistance has also spread rapidly and
 proliferated into hundreds of known variations and mixtures. The variation
 and complexity make this form of resistance difficult to detect accurately.
     This test also required less than three hours to complete, again with
 the goal of six hours or less. The company is not aware of any alternative
 method in development that competes with Accelr8 in identifying these
     The third analysis to be tested in upcoming studies is intended to
 identify the most resistant organisms seen in the hospital. The leading
 organisms in this category are species of Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter.
 Strains of these bacteria are spreading that are now susceptible to only
 one or two remaining antibiotics. The company has an objective of
 completing this test in less than 6 hours. As with the second category
 (ESBL), the company is not aware of any alternatives in development that
 compete with Accelr8 in identifying these organisms.
     S. aureus accounts for approximately 20% to 25% of VAP according to
 published statistics. Species that can carry the second type of resistance
 (ESBL) account for approximately 25% to 35% of VAP. Species associated with
 the third category account for approximately 30% to 40% of VAP and overlap
 those in the second category. Overall, the company believes that its first
 identification "panel" will cover approximately 75% of VAP-related species
 and a higher proportion of resistant strains.
     Almost all alternative "rapid" MRSA tests require cultured and purified
 strain isolates for identification, which typically take 6-24 hours to
 prepare. None of the commercially available MRSA tests provide results soon
 enough to guide initial therapy. With severe infections in critically ill
 patients, published research has shown that switching from inadequate to
 adequate as soon as the next day is too late to improve outcomes. Medical
 experts believe that rapid analysis of antibiotic resistance will lead to
 lower mortality and shorter, less expensive length of hospital stay.
 Current data show that infections by resistant organisms approximately
 double the mortality rate, double the length of stay, and double the cost
 when compared to infections by susceptible organisms of the same species in
 the same type of patient.
     New rapid MRSA gene tests that can work directly with uncultured
 specimens are approved only for screening people who carry the organism,
 and not for diagnosing infections. While this application has great
 potential and has attracted major investment, it does not address patients
 who actually have a life-threatening infection.
     Accelr8 is designing its system -- the BACcel(TM)-1.0 -- to eliminate
 culturing and strain isolation. It analyzes the bacteria extracted directly
 from patient specimens, thus eliminating the long delays inherent with
 culturing methods. It uses computerized microscopy to measure the responses
 of each individual bacterial cell to various tests. The test methods
 themselves use the same principles as standard tests, but optimized for
 single-cell analysis.
     The purpose of the BACcel-1.0 rapid identification is to help the
 physician avoid starting therapy with antibiotics that are the most likely
 to fail. It is not intended to guide specific drug choices. A later product
 version -- the BACcelr8r(TM) -- is planned to add specific drug data and
 provide the complete analysis.
     Accelr8's president, David Howson, said "we believe that these pilot
 studies are the first demonstration of methods that can quickly identify
 strains according to major resistance categories. Our methods eliminate the
 6 to 24 hour delay of initial culture and strain isolation. The physician
 can receive the information soon enough to have a significant impact on
 adjusting the initial therapy. These pilot studies use standard reference
 strains that give us a clear baseline. We will now expand the challenges
 using recent, well-characterized isolates from patients who had respiratory
     Howson continued "this year we are preparing to work with new patient
 specimens that we will analyze in our lab using our current research
 prototypes. These data sets will lay the groundwork for improved
 instruments to be placed into research labs."
     "Perhaps the most important point is that these studies are the first
 demonstration of new methods that can rapidly identify strains for more
 than one major resistance category. We believe that these methods will
 provide more accurate results and reach real patients more quickly than
 other new methods being developed. In particular, we use well-known
 analytical principles whereas most other new technology requires new
 discoveries and fundamental biological validation. Finally, our system can
 count organisms and report quantitative results, which is not possible with
 most of the other technology being developed."
     About Accelr8
     Accelr8 Technology Corporation ( is a developer of
 innovative materials and instrumentation for advanced applications in
 medical instrumentation, basic research, drug discovery, and bio-detection.
 In addition to its microarraying products, Accelr8 is also developing a
 rapid clinical pathogen platform, the BACcelr8r(TM), based on its
 innovative surface coatings, assay processing, and detection technologies.

SOURCE Accelr8 Technology Corporation