Luminex Corporation announced it has been awarded a contract worth up to $11.6 million over three and a half years. The contract will fund development of a prototype instrument that is highly portable, field-deployable diagnostic tool capable of rapid detection of biothreat agents and patient response biomarkers indicative of systemic disease. This hand-held system will detect both protein and nucleic acid targets to aid diagnosis of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS), a consequence of blood infection in conventional combat, biowarfare and combat operations in developing and resource-limited areas.
Infection and disease caused by biowarfare agents carry the very real threat of catastrophic illness and death of military and civilian personnel. The pathophysiology of candidate biowarfare microbes is varied and may involve multiple organ systems, but there are some common features associated with bloodstream infection that permit the development of a sensitive diagnostic test that not only identifies biowarfare pathogens but also can be use outside of an executed bioagent attack.
"Rapid response and informed decisions on therapeutic options are critical in managing biothreat agent exposure," said Amy Altman, Ph.D., vice president Luminex Biodefense. "The flexibility and scalability of our multiplexing technology allow for the measurement of RNA, DNA and proteins with the same system, aiding rapid and accurate diagnosis of these severe conditions. Development of a field deployable device using our technology has the potential to provide significant advancement in biothreat detection."
"Luminex is highly committed to success in the area of biodefense. We are pleased that DTRA recognizes the potential contribution our technology can make in the detection of biothreat agents," said Patrick J. Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex. "We look forward to collaborating on this important initiative by developing innovative solutions for combating biothreat agents and protecting the safety of people everywhere."
The contract awarded to Luminex supports The Chemical and Biological Defense Initiative Fund (CMB-DIAGB2) U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Solicitation was issued for full and open competition and 56 proposals were received. Established in 1998, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) provides the Department of Defense's core intellectual, technical and operational support expertise for countering threats posed by weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) and high-yield explosives.