Rheonix said this week that it has been awarded a $500,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase IIB grant from the National Science Foundation to expand the capabilities of its pathogen detection system from the evaluation of recreational water to detection of pathogens in food and beverages.
The funding follows on the heels of a $500,000 Phase II grant Rheonix received from NSF in February (PCR Insider 2/10/11), which itself followed the successful completion of a Phase I and IB project in which Rheonix developed its testing system to rapidly detect fecal indicator bacteria in recreational water.
Rheonix said that the Phase IIB funding was granted based on a joint development agreement that it entered into in late July with Life Technologies (PCR Insider 8/1/2013). Under that agreement, Rheonix is supplying its CARD (Chemistry and Reagent Device) technology to Life Tech for an automated testing platform in applied markets such as food testing. The agreement is also enabling Rheonix to further develop and shorten the time to market for its own sample-to-answer in vitro diagnostics platform based on the same core technology.
"The added funding by NSF further validates the scientific merit of our platform," Tony Eisenhut, president of Rheonix, said in a statement. "In addition, having a strategic partner of the stature of Life Technologies was a definite benefit during our discussions with NSF. As we have established the strategic partnership with Life Technologies in the applied markets, we also continue to explore such partnerships in other markets of interest to us, especially human clinical diagnostics."
The CARD consumable is a disposable cartridge the size of a credit card that is inserted into a benchtop instrument to run multiple samples through a fully integrated molecular assay —sample extraction, DNA purification, amplification, and array-based endpoint detection — with no user intervention.