Micronics, Inc., a development-stage company, today announced that the Department of Defense has awarded the company an Applied Research and Technology Development Award under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Polytrauma and Blast Injury project for advancement of its PanNAT system for point-of-care molecular diagnosis of infectious pathogens.
In the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command’s Broad Area Announcement, the Armed Forces expressed interest in innovative medical technology to develop a highly accurate, rapid assay device for detecting bloodborne pathogens. The device needed would have a higher degree of sensitivity than existing equipment and provide instant results, while being durable and fully functional in field testing to withstand wartime conditions.
In response, the PanNAT technology represents a significant advance over current nucleic acid-based assay systems, which are complex, expensive and can take several hours or days. Micronics’ PanNAT system is a sample-to-answer device that is easy to use; the lightweight, portable instrument processes a cartridge into which all reagents are incorporated for rapid disease detection. The award will advance the development of assays on the compact, WiFi-enabled, mains and/or battery-powered PanNAT instrument for the direct detection of multiple bloodborne pathogens in fresh blood samples. The specific pathogens to be detected are those for hepatitis B and C (HBV, HCV), as well as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The assay is intended for use in the battlefield to screen out any infectious blood donated for transfusion.
Micronics has already begun work on the three-year project that began on September 30, 2010. The award funds a collaborative effort lead by Micronics’ chief scientific officer, John Gerdes, PhD, together with Wei Mei Ching, PhD/Senior Scientist, of the Naval Medical Research Command in Silver Spring, Maryland, and John D. Scott, MD/Professor, of the Hepatitis and Liver Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.