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Rheonix Awarded SBIR Grant to Complete Development of HIV Assay

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Rheonix today said it received a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Fast-Track grant to complete the development of its fully automated self-confirming assay for the simultaneous detection of HIV/AIDS antibodies and viral RNA in a single specimen.

The grant from the National Institutes of Health is for six months and $189,646. Ithaca, NY-based Rheonix said it anticipates being awarded a follow-on 18-month, $1.5 million Phase II award.

The assay to be developed will simplify HIV testing and eliminate the need for multiple visits to a healthcare provider by a patient, Rheonix said. The firm has worked with researchers at New York University to develop a dual assay that can perform the initial test and the confirmatory test simultaneously on the same specimen.

Under the terms of the grant, Rheonix and NYU will continue collaborating on the complex benchtop assay as it is converted to Rheonix's Chemistry and Reagent Device (CARD) system, a fully automated molecular testing system that performs sample extraction, purification, amplification, and detection.

"By automating the entire process in a small, portable device, resource-limited regions will have their first-ever opportunity to perform simultaneous serological testing and molecular confirmation for HIV," Richard Montagna, Rheonix senior vice president for scientific and clinical affairs, said in a statement. He is the principal investigator on the grant.

In December, Rheonix announced a $14 million private financing directed at remodeling its existing space and adding a new headquarters to its physical operations, enabling it to scale up manufacturing capabilities and capacity as the company began production of the cartridges for the CARD system.