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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

New device could reduce time needed to test for bacteria, such as anthrax

Date:   September 29, 2014

Organization: nanoMR, Inc. of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Funding: $5.9 Million-12 month base year/ $21.5 Million with 3 distinct options totalling 3 years and 3 months

About this program: This Innovation program supports advanced development of a device that could reduce the time needed to test for bacteria, such as anthrax, from days to hours. To do so, nanoMR, Inc. will develop and test an automated clinical sample concentrator, a device that concentrates the amount of a pathogen, such as bacteria or fungi, captured in a blood sample. 

The company currently is conducting clinical studies of a manual version of the device, which was designed to support tests for the top 19 bacteria and the top five fungi causing bloodstream infections for people of any age and works with testing equipment typically found in hospital laboratories.

Testing for pathogens in blood usually requires growing cells in a laboratory and then determining which type of bacteria or fungus is present.  With traditional methods, this process typically takes 18 to 72 hours. Concentrating the amount of pathogen cells captured in each sample could reduce this processing time to two to three hours.

In a bioterrorism attack or an epidemic, doctors will need information as quickly as possible to save lives. Innovation projects like this are helping drive the biotech industry forward to solve day-to-day public health problems and protect health in emergencies.

nanoMR, Inc.  also will conduct studies needed to apply for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use of the device in testing for anthrax and other biothreats. The project also includes automating the system to process multiple samples simultaneously, and designing and manufacturing the automated version in a way that reduces the cost of the system so the system is affordable for hospitals or similar laboratories.

BARDA continually seeks proposals for innovative projects through its Tech Watch program.

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  • This page last reviewed: April 28, 2017