CombiMatrix Corporation (Nasdaq:CBMX) announced today that it has received a four year contract for $858,298 from NASA's Ames Research Center to design and test a microfluidic system that incorporates CombiMatrix's semiconductor microarray as part of an integrated genetic analysis platform that can be deployed in satellites. Funding to CombiMatrix for the first year of this program will be $214,051 with three option years at similar funding levels.
Dr. David Danley, CombiMatrix's Director of Homeland Security and Defense Programs said, "NASA investigators recently reported that bacteria grown in a microgravity environment became more virulent. As a result, NASA is concerned about the effects of space flight on many aspects of bacterial genetics and metabolism. Our microfluidic system and custom DNA microarray with electrochemical detection can be integrated into a compact package to provide all of the capabilities of ground-based research instruments for studying genetic changes in bacteria over time as they circle the earth." This project is possible because CombiMatrix has reduced the footprint of its array reader to the size of a cell phone. This device, which is the industry's smallest and most cost-effective reader will be launched in the third quarter of this year.
"The ability to have a completely automated sample collection, preparation, and analysis system is obviously a necessity for space-based applications where human technical intervention is not possible. The development of this system for NASA will also enable highly automated systems for terrestrial applications by the U.S. military, as well as non-military medical applications," stated Dr. Amit Kumar, President and CEO of CombiMatrix. "Therefore, we are pleased that this contract will enable dual-use applications, and that our technology continues to find interest from U.S. government agencies."