CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SANTA MONICA, California, July 06, 2020 (Globe Newswire) – Centogene N.V. (Nasdaq: CNTG), a commercial-stage diagnostics and genetic research company, and the OESIS Network Inc, an innovation network of more than 600 schools across the U.S., today announced a partnership for COVID-19 screening of schools. The partnership will offer RT-PCR testing that can aid schools in their return to campus in the fall and continued screening to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 over the course of the academic school year.
The partnership addresses the unique challenges facing schools in the following ways:
- Given the precious resources of schools public and private, the test will be offered at an affordable price and less than the COVID-19 clinical diagnostic reimbursement price announced in April for Medicare Part B for high throughput, technician intensive, and time intensive tests. The partnership is also investigating the possibility of offering pooled pricing for schools that perform regular testing, once an initial baseline has been established. This approach could incorporate pooled testing, where test samples are batched - potentially reducing analytical costs.
- Given the need to test both students and employees, the sample collection will use CentoSwab™, CENTOGENE’s validated, CE-labeled, ethylene oxide-treated swabs and collection tubes that can ship directly to school sampling locations. This FDA listed, class 1 medical device is an oropharyngeal swab and does not require a medical expert, a stabilization buffer, or specialized kits.
- Given the need for accuracy, the testing will use RT-PCR and will be conducted at a CENTOGENE lab, certified by the College of American Pathologists and as a CLIA lab, authorized to do moderate to complex diagnostics required for PCR testing.
- Given the time-pressure around the beginning of the school year in August and September, up to 50,000 tests per week are available for this partnership at this time and can be increased upon demand. All logistics for sample collection will be handled by CENTOGENE and its logistics partners to ensure sample collection, delivery, and analysis in a timely manner.
- Given the importance of ensuring the highest levels of privacy and data protection, the schools will not be providing identifying information to CENTOGENE or OESIS on who the samples came from, rather a simple numerical identifier on the swab container that will be accessed by the school using a digital web portal. It will be the responsibility of the schools to inform those who would have tested positive, as well as other required disclosures to local health authorities.
Sanje Ratnavale, President of OESIS Network, stated, “CENTOGENE has all the operational attributes we were looking for including reputation, quality, capacity, logistics and price. We were drawn to its experience and credentials testing high school students and teachers already for COVID-19, who provided us with the necessary references. Although many of the schools in our network are independent, this program will be equally available to public and Title 1 schools, particularly if they are able to access Cares Act funding potentially for such uses.”
Dr. Jennifer Zaccara, Head of School at the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, commented on the announcement, “OESIS simply ‘went to bat’ for schools when they needed support. As a result, we now have access to COVID-19 testing at affordable rates.”
Robert de Deugd, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at CENTOGENE, said, “To overcome this global pandemic, it is vital that we work together to create worldwide solutions – preventing a further outbreak and enabling students to continue to focus with their educational journey. Working alongside the OESIS Network Inc, we will be able to provide highly validated, precise testing to schools throughout the U.S. We are very enthusiastic that this initiative will enable students and staff to return to the classroom, while continuously keeping their health, safety, and peace of mind at the forefront.”
CENTOGENE engages in diagnosis and research around rare diseases transforming real-world clinical and genetic data into actionable information for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. Our goal is to bring rationality to treatment decisions and to accelerate the development of new orphan drugs by using our extensive rare disease knowledge, including epidemiological and clinical data, as well as innovative biomarkers. CENTOGENE has developed a global proprietary rare disease platform based on our real-world data repository with approximately 3.0 billion weighted data points from over 530,000 patients representing over 120 different countries as of March 31, 2020.
The Company’s platform includes epidemiologic, phenotypic, and genetic data that reflects a global population, and also a biobank of these patients’ blood samples. CENTOGENE believes this represents the only platform that comprehensively analyzes multi-level data to improve the understanding of rare hereditary diseases, which can aid in the identification of patients and improve our pharmaceutical partners’ ability to bring orphan drugs to the market. As of March 31, 2020, the Company collaborated with 39 pharmaceutical partners covering over 45 different rare diseases.
About OESIS NETWORK
OESIS is an innovation network of 600 mostly independent K-12 schools across the United States. Its mission is to catalyze change in the learning models of schools with an emphasis on the innovative practices in pedagogy, curriculum development, 21st-century assessment and school culture change. Through its research, its professional development platforms, its student e-portfolios, its national publications, and its conferences, it covers all areas of student-centered learning including Project-Based Learning, Mastery, 21st Century Assessment, STEAM, Experiential Learning, Global Collaboration, Blended Learning, Inquiry Driven Models and more.
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