Biosearch Technologies said yesterday that it has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Department of Defense to further design and develop quantitative PCR-based assays for pathogens of military importance.
The grant, worth more than $750,000, will support the development of qRT-PCR primers and probes to detect six rickettsial pathogens, four of which are listed in the top 25 of the Global Risk Severity Index compiled by the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center, Biosearch said.
In addition, several of the agents are listed as category A or B priority pathogens by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Biosearch said.
The qPCR-based assays will be modified for field deployment in overseas military operations, and the grant also covers the development of analyte-specific reagents.
This is the second Phase II SBIR in as many months to be awarded to Biosearch by the DoD for assay development. Last month, the company was awarded a similar grant worth more than $800,000 to develop rapid assays for six arbovirus pathogens in the top 20 of the GRSI (PCR Insider, 9/23/10).
Biosearch expects to use hydrolysis probes, Scorpions, and molecular beacons among other probes in its assay development.