Detecting fungal infections using unique DNA tests

PathoNostics has been developing and producing DNA tests that help detect fungal infections quickly and reliably since 2011. These tests show which medication the fungus is resistant to at the same time - essential additional information that enables doctors to precisely determine which fungus is involved and how to treat it, within just a couple of hours. This saves time and money, but more importantly, prevents many problems and saves lives.

Scientific level
Gijs Dingemans was the first employee of sister company PathoFinder in 2004. Today, he is the scientific director of PathoNostics. He proposes strategies, enjoys the scientific brainstorming sessions, sinks his teeth into the puzzles involved in product development, constantly keeps up to date with the current professional literature, travels all over the world, attends the big fungal conferences, and is in charge of market research and sales. “Doctors, researchers and key opinion leaders appreciate a conversation on a good scientific level. I worked on the development of the product and have seen the entire process from A to Z; I know everything there is to know about it”.

Gijs Dingemans: “The best part of it is, you go from an idea to a product, and then get to sell it yourself.”
Thanks to the intimate, smart and efficient collaboration with sister company PathoFinder, PathoNostics can fully focus on product development and production: “We only have five people on staff, all are scientists, yet every two years we launch a new product onto the market as well as ensuring that our products always remain up to date.”

2017: (almost) four products
There are approximately 1,4 million different fungi worldwide. Perhaps only one hundred of these occur in humans, and are harmful. One very common fungus is interesting because of its volume potential. Another fungus is less common but can be fatal, making the importance and the costs of an infection much higher. PathoNostics currently offers three tests, packaged in characteristic square boxes. AsperGenius® is designed to rapidly detect the fungus that can be life-threatening in people with suppressed immune systems. DermaGenius® is used for diagnosing hair, skin and nail infections. PneumoGenius® detects the presence of Pneumocystis jirovecii, which causes fungal infections particularly in HIV patients. And product number four? “Creation is in progress.“

No other alternative
Thanks to its DNA tests, PathoNostics is a unique player in the global market. Gijs: “We offer something that simply didn’t exist: a fast, reliable diagnosis plus immediate certainty about what the fungus in question is resistant to. The standard diagnostic test up until now – laboratory culture – takes days or weeks, and even then it is still guesswork which medication will be effective and which will not. For vulnerable patients with Aspergillus fumigatus, the fungus for which AsperGenius® was developed, it’s often too late; 80% of them die. This accounts for approximately 50 people each year in the Netherlands, but worldwide you’re talking about more than 100,000 deaths.”

Development of new products happens in-house, as does manufacturing, which is done according to the most strict norms and quality regulations. Once it outgrew the Biopartner start-up building, Guus Simons (CEO of both PathoFinder and PathoNostics) found a new building on the campus for both companies in 2013. The new facility at Randwycksingel 45 has five stories and a total floor area of 1000m2, so ideal for continued growth. The Maastricht UMC+ is practically next door and the hospitals /universities of Liège, Hasselt and Aachen are just around the corner. PathoNostics is also grateful to be able to use the services that the Maastricht Health Campus offers. “A press release from Brightlands will have more impact than if we were to send it ourselves. Specific expertise, on exploring the Chinese market for example, or advice from business developers, is also available for the companies with an office here.”