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Washington Funds Viral POC MDx Development Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The State of Washington's Life Sciences Discovery Fund has awarded a $149,000 grant to University of Washington researcher Timothy Rose to develop a device that can detect a number of different respiratory infections at the point of care.

LSDF said today that Rose, a professor of pediatrics at UW's Seattle Children's Research Institute, is developing the test with the Redmond, Wash.-based microfluidics company Micronics.

The diagnostic test will be a microfluidics cartridge that will operate in a small battery-operated instrument with all the reagents for processing, PCR-based target amplification, and read-out integrated into the device.

The grant to Rose was one of three that were funded in the second round of LSDF's commercialization grant competition, a program that seeks to help move promising technologies from Washington's non-profit research labs into the commercial marketplace.

The LSDF was created by the state in 2005 and is supported with funding from the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement of 1998, and it has received support from Amgen; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Group Health Cooperative; Microsoft Corporation; the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; Regence BlueShield; and Safeco Insurance Foundation.

The aim of the project is to use Rose's CODEHOP PCR primer technology in a diagnostic platform that can identify and discriminate influenza and paramyxovirus types — viruses that are responsible for seasonal increases in hospitalization rates, outpatient visits, and deaths — on the same disposable cartridge.

Such a point-of-care diagnostic platform could be used to avoid "costly and disruptive treatments or public health measures, over-prescription of antibiotics, and increased spread of disease," LSDF said.

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