NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Duke University has been awarded $10.4 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to continue the development with DxTerity Diagnostics of a genetic test for radiation exposure.
The funds extend the project's contract to early 2016 and bring total funding for the project to $43 million since 2009. An initial partnership between Duke, the University of Arizona, and DxTerity was established that year to develop a high-throughput, automated, direct-from-blood system for large-scale detection of RNA biomarkers indicating radiation exposure.
A molecular biodosimeter would be useful to triage patients after a nuclear disaster or mass radiation exposure since low-level exposure does not result in obvious initial symptoms, the partners said.
In a statement, DxTerity officials said the firm plans to seek US Food and Drug Administration approval of the biodosimeter within the next three years.
"If cleared, the radiation absorption test would be the first direct-from-blood, multiplex gene expression test approved by the FDA, and would open the door for other direct-from-blood gene assays," Bob Terbrueggen, DxTerity's founder and CEO said.
Rancho Dominguez, Calif.-based DxTerity received a Small Business Innovation Research contract in late 2013 to further translate its technology into a test for radiation sickness susceptibility to help manage patients undergoing cancer treatment. It continues to seek partners for its technology and recently launched a line of at-home blood collection tubes and reagent kits for multiplex PCR that use its RNA-stabilization chemistry.