NEW YORK, July 25 - Diversa, a San Diego-based microbial genomics firm, announced today that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was prepared to award the company approximately $3.2 million to optimize three antibodies that the U.S. army is already using for the detection of bioterrorism agents.
The antibodies in question were developed to detect ricin toxin, plague, and alpha-virus. The company will use the money to employ its Gene Site Saturation Mutagenesis technologies to optimize the binding characteristics of the antibodies. The goal is to increase the diagnostic sensitivity and selectivity of the three antibodies being used now as well as to develop ways to improve other biodefense diagnostics.
The NIAID has authorized $890,000 for the first six months of the project.