DOD awards Luminex $11.6M to develop biothreat detection tech

Friday, August 10, 2012 02:42 PM

Luminex, a developer and manufacturer of biological testing technologies based in Austin, Texas, has been awarded a contract worth up to $11.6 million over three and a half years by the Department of Defense (DOD).

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.

"Rapid response and informed decisions on therapeutic options are critical in managing biothreat agent exposure," said Amy Altman, Ph.D., vice president of 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."

"We are pleased that DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction Agency] recognizes the potential contribution our technology can make in the detection of biothreat agents," said Patrick J. Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex. 

The contract awarded to Luminex supports the Chemical and Biological Defense Initiative Fund (CMB-DIAGB2) U.S. DOD's DTRA. Solicitation was issued for full and open competition and 56 proposals were received.  Established in 1998, the DTRA provides the DOD'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.

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