Antigen Discovery wins SBIR grant for microfluidic POC device development

15 August 2012 (Last Updated August 15th, 2012 18:30)

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the US National Institutes of Health has awarded a Phase I small business innovation research (SBIR) grant of $600,000 to Antigen Discovery for development of a microfluidic point-of-care (POC) diagnostic device.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the US National Institutes of Health has awarded a Phase I small business innovation research (SBIR) grant of $600,000 to Antigen Discovery for development of a microfluidic point-of-care (POC) diagnostic device.

The two-year award will fund a collaborative research effort between Antigen Discovery and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at University of California, Irvine (UCI).

"The development of hand-held point-of-care diagnostics will allow first responders to effectively assess the prevalence and spread of exposure in a population during major outbreaks."

To develop a microfluidic POC device, UCI will utilise its air-liquid cavity acoustic transducer (ALCAT) technology, while Antigen Discovery will use its protein microarray technology and large library of serodiagnostic antigens from dozens of infectious disease targets.

Antigen Discovery president and CEO Dr Xiaowu Liang said; "The development of hand-held point-of-care diagnostics will meet a vital need as the portability, ease-of-use, and prompt sample-to-answer times allow first responders to effectively assess the prevalence and spread of exposure in a population during major outbreaks."

UCI Micro/nano Fluidics Fundamentals Focus Centre director, biomedical engineering department chair and principle investigator Dr Abraham Lee said the centre will design and build a microfluidic polymer-based chip that utilises ALCAT to provide the fluid actuation required for complex reagent handling in multi-step colorimetric immunoassays.

"By incorporating novel ALCAT-based approaches into protein microarray assays, we will have the versatility and power to reduce enzymatic development times, limit production costs, and fully integrate all components into a disposable assay," Lee said.

Antigen Discovery founder and chairman Dr Philip Felgner said; "We now plan to develop a point-of-care diagnostic system consisting of a cost-effective, disposable, microfluidic plastic chip and a portable analyser that can be driven by a mobile computing device such as a smart phone for rapid serological evaluation of exposure and infections."