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US Army Awards CombiMatrix $1.9M Contract to Develop Miniaturized Array Reader

NEW YORK, April 24 (GenomeWeb News) - Acacia Research said today that its CombiMatrix group has been awarded $1.9 million from the US Army Research Office to develop a miniaturized microarray reader for biodefense applications.


The award brings the company's total biodefense funding to around $14 million, including a $5.9 million Department of Defense contract that the company completed at the end of 2005, a $2.4 million award from the DoD in January,  and two additional contracts worth $2.1 million and $2.16 million.


CombiMatrix said that $6 million of this funding will support its R&D activities in 2006 and 2007, and that it has "grant applications and requests into the government for more than $25 million" for 2007 and beyond.  


The objective of the latest contract is to develop a self-contained and disposable device for rapidly detecting a variety of microorganisms. The instrument will be capable of rapid "multiplexed PCR amplification, [electrochemical detection]-based microarray detection, and data-interpretation capabilities," the company said.


Robin Liu, the principal investigator on the contract, said in a statement that the company is developing "a compact, toaster-size [microarray] reader that costs $20,000."


Applications for the system include the detection of anthrax, plague, and infectious diseases such as influenza, SARS, and HIV. Following completed development, CombiMatrix said it expects to seek FDA approval for the system and arrays.

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