Wendy Emanuel writes "Nanosphere, a nanotechnology-based life sciences company, announced today it has expanded its multi-million dollar development contract with the U.S. Government Technical Support Working Group (TSWG). The company also announced the receipt of a $750,000 Phase II grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). U.S. Government Contract Expansion
The TSWG contract, which began in October 2002, adapts Nanosphere's Verigene(TM) platform into a field-deployable system to detect DNA sequences of biological warfare agents, including anthrax and plague. The contract expansion follows the recent TSWG award of an additional $2.5 million contract to Nanosphere, which optimizes Nanosphere's Verigene platform into a field-deployable system that enables emergency first responders and hospital triage personnel to identify biological toxins, such as ricin and botulinium toxin. "Nanosphere's platform is well suited to DNA, RNA and protein detection needs in a wide range of environments," said William Cork, Nanosphere's chief technology officer. "Nanosphere's detection instruments are designed for use by personnel who do not have molecular biology expertise, which makes the exciting technology particularly advantageous for field use."
The NIAID grant, initiated in August 2004, will fund the development and evaluation of diagnostic tests for biological warfare agents, including anthrax and plague, and extend to the identification of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). As part of the grant, Nanosphere will integrate DNA barcode technology and automated microfluidic assay processing into its platform with a colorimetric detection capability that will further simplify the identification of targets with a green-to-orange color change without the need for traditional signal or target amplification.
"Nanosphere is pleased to receive this grant and address the urgent need for rapid and inexpensive tests that both identify biological warfare agents at a point-of-site and alleviate current challenges associated with timely MRSA detection," said Vijaya Vasista, Nanosphere's Chief Operating Officer. "Nanosphere's platform is particularly efficient in its ability to test for a wide variety of genetic sequences with orders-of-magnitude improved sensitivity and specificity over traditional detection methods."
Nanosphere's Verigene(TM) platform combines nanotechnology-based nanoparticle probes, assays and instruments to offer superior DNA, RNA and protein detection on one platform and at reduced cost. Nanosphere launched Verigene(TM) ID, its optical detection system, in June 2003, for research environments. In Q1 2005, Nanosphere will introduce its automated Verigene(TM) System, which makes one-step processing possible by automating the entire testing process with a fluid-processing unit accompanying the Verigene(TM) ID. Additional system information is available at http://www.nanosphere.us.
Nanosphere, a privately held nanotechnology company with headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, is developing a universal molecular testing platform that sets a new standard in the improvement of patient care and enhancement of public safety. The nanoengineered probes exhibit a variety of properties that make them more accurate and sensitive than conventional fluorophore technology. The Nanosphere platform addresses the persistent need for simplified molecular testing methods that can quickly and easily detect targeted DNA, RNA and protein markers for a variety of life threatening diseases."