ITHACA, N.Y. — Rheonix, Inc., a developer of fully automated molecular testing solutions, has received a $500,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase IIB grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The funding adds to the $650,000 the company previously received in NSF SBIR Phase I, Phase IB and Phase II funding for this project and will allow Rheonix to expand the capabilities of its pathogen detection system from the evaluation of recreational water to detection of pathogens in food and beverage markets.
The Phase IIB funding was granted based on a joint development agreement recently entered into by Rheonix and Life Technologies, a global leader in the life sciences tools and diagnostic markets. Under the agreement, Rheonix is developing a platform with built-in capabilities for the in vitro diagnostics market and will supply its CARD® technology to Life Technologies for an automated testing platform in applied markets such as food testing. The partnership will significantly shorten the time necessary for Rheonix to enter the clinical market with its sample-to-result molecular diagnostic instrument.
“The added funding by NSF further validates the scientific merit of our platform,” said Tony Eisenhut, president of Rheonix. “In addition, having a strategic partner of the stature of Life Technologies was a definite benefit during our discussions with NSF. As we have established the strategic partnership with Life Technologies in the applied markets, we also continue to explore such partnerships in other markets of interest to us, especially human clinical diagnostics.”
For the clinical market, the walk-away Rheonix platform is fully automated and addresses the most difficult challenges facing the health care industry today, including workforce shortages, limited access to advanced molecular testing and escalating costs. Once a raw sample is placed on the Rheonix CARD, the automated platform runs with no user intervention through the process of sample extraction, DNA purification, amplification and detection. This eliminates the need for multiple pieces of existing equipment, helping make the testing process quicker, more efficient, less expensive and less likely to result in human error.
“We are excited that the NSF has provided funding to continue to assist us in developing and expanding the scope of our fully automated molecular detection platform,” said Richard Montagna, Ph.D., senior vice president for scientific affairs at Rheonix and the project’s principal investigator. “NSF is focused on moving technologies into commercial applications, and they recognized the value of our Life Technologies partnership and its reach into the applied markets.”
The NSF SBIR Program is designed to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting federal research and development needs and increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results.
For more information, please visit www.rheonix.com or www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/.