Ithaca, N.Y. — March 31, 2009 — Rheonix Inc., a privately-held biomedical device company known for its revolutionary, microfluidic, in vitro diagnostic platform, will receive a $100,000 Phase I grant from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop a biosensor for the rapid detection of the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB) in human clinical specimens. The grant will come through NIAID’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.
TB, once thought to have been eliminated, has returned to the world stage seriously endangering both industrialized and developing nations with multi-drug-resistant strains. As many as nine million cases and approximately two million deaths are reported annually, and diagnosis, especially in resource-limited countries, is obstructed by 100-year-old microscopic methods that lack sensitivity. With exposure on the rise due to global migration and travel, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the development of new diagnostic platforms for TB’s detection and rapid diagnosis.
“With almost $1 Billion spent every year to perform TB testing, the commercial market potential for an easy-to-use test for tuberculosis is immediate and will have broad implications for improving this worldwide health issue,” commented Tony Eisenhut, Rheonix President & CEO.
Richard Montagna, Ph.D., Senior VP for Scientific Affairs and the Principal Investigator for the grant efforts, remarked further, “Having the ability to fully integrate our biosensor and microfluidic technologies will dramatically enhance the simplicity of what would otherwise be a very complicated test to run. We can truly achieve sample-in/results-out capabilities and provide an inexpensive, disposable, point-of-care alternative to today’s methods.”
According to Peng Zhou, Ph.D., Senior VP for Research and Chief Scientific Officer, the Rheonix platform will further simplify and dramatically reduce the time required to perform TB testing by reducing unnecessary process steps: “While many very complex molecular assays are either commercially available or under development for clinical purposes, our approach will completely eliminate the need for gene amplification since we will be able to detect target nucleic acids directly.”
The Rheonix CARD™ automatically performs all sample preparation, analysis, and readout functions with no hands-on effort. Once a raw sample is introduced, results are achieved in considerably less time and with less expense than current solutions.