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Virogenomics, Inc. Awarded $2 Million National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program Grant to Develop Integrated Diagnostic Biosensors

Awardee Story Virogenomics, Inc. Awarded $2 Million National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program Grant to Develop Integrated Diagnostic Biosensors
Date: Oct 03, 2007

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PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Virogenomics, Inc. today
announced that the company has been awarded a $2 million grant from the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a Sensor
System on Panel (SSOP) that tests for many different biological markers in
a single assay.
Successful development of the SSOP could revolutionize research on and
the diagnosis of multifactorial conditions such as autoimmune disease and
allergy, enabling earlier treatment and the development of more specific
therapeutics.
Medical diagnostic methods typically test for a single "biomarker" that
indicates a possible disease state. This approach provides only limited
information because many diseases have multiple contributing factors and
surrogate markers of interest. For that reason a single test can never
provide a complete diagnosis. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, cancers, and
infectious diseases can have many different causes and manifestations, and
could be better diagnosed with devices that can test for many different
markers in a single assay. Virogenomics has proposed developing such a
device using transducers made with existing microelectronic manufacturing
methods and is based on technology licensed from Oregon Health & Science
University.
The proposed Sensor System on Panel (SSOP) will include all the
hardware and firmware required to do a complete analysis of the interaction
of biological molecules and communicate the result. The SSOP will
incorporate at least two types of transducers and several transducer
sub-types as well as circuit elements for command and control functions.
Each sensor will have many transducers, each with a specific protein
attached. When a patient sample, either serum or saliva, is applied to the
device, the SSOP will detect any proteins that bind to any of the proteins
attached to the transducers. The device would be the size and shape of a
typical USB flash drive, and could be read on a standard personal computer
through a USB port. No current technology offers this level of flexibility
in design, fabrication, and operation.
Collaborators on the project include the Materials and Device
Applications Lab within Sharp Labs of America, Directed by John Hartzell;
Raj Solanki, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at Portland State University; and
Arthur Vandenbark, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Molecular Microbiology
and Immunology, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of
Medicine and Senior Research Career Scientist at the Portland Veterans
Administration Medical Center.
"The ability to rapidly screen for multiple disease markers and
antibodies in real time on a microchip will enable health care providers to
make on-the-spot medical decisions," said Dr. Arthur Vandenbark,
co-inventor of one of the biochip designs to be developed for use on the
SSOP.
"This grant is a catalyst. It brings together regional strengths in
semiconductor manufacturing, diagnostic devices, and molecular immunology."
said Jeff King, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer of Virogenomics. "By teaming
up with Sharp Labs for device expertise and semiconductor manufacture, OHSU
for autoimmune and allergy expertise, and PSU for engineering of micro and
nano materials, we have built a world class team."
"We are excited about the opportunity to apply our biosensor platform
technology to next generation diagnostic applications and create
potentially ground breaking technology with our collaboration partners"
said John Hartzell, Senior Director, Sharp Labs of America, (Camas, WA)
"Sharp Labs looks forward to collaborating with leaders in the Oregon
biotechnology community that have a track record of commercial development
of diagnostic products."
About Virogenomics
Virogenomics is a privately held biotechnology company based in Tigard,
Oregon. Virogenomics' business strategy is to identify and obtain rights to
early-stage technologies, manage and develop these technologies to a
critical phase, and then spin-off the developed technologies into new
start-up companies. The autoimmune technology was spun-off in 2004 into a
subsidiary named Artielle ImmunoTherapeutics. The stroke technology was
recently spun off into its own entity, NeuroProtect, Inc. I D Biopharma,
was formed via the consolidation of infectious disease technologies from
Virogenomics and additional technologies from Oregon Health & Science
University.
About SLA
Sharp Laboratories of America is the U.S. based research and
development laboratory for Sharp Corporation, Japan. Sharp Labs is focused
on performing fundamental and applied research that results in new
technologies and innovations.
About OHSU
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and
research university, and its only academic health center. It is Portland's
largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government),
with more than 12,000 employees. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and
is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. As a
leader in research, OHSU earned $307 million in research funding in fiscal
year 2007. OHSU serves as a catalyst for the region's bioscience industry
and is an incubator of discovery, averaging one new breakthrough or
innovation every 2.7 days, with more than 3,500 research projects currently
under way. OHSU disclosed 132 inventions in 2007 alone, and OHSU research
has resulted in 33 startup companies since 2000, most of which are based in
Oregon.
About Portland State University
Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for
over 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland,
Oregon, one of the nation's most livable cities, the University's
innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom
with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects
with community partners. The University's 49-acre downtown campus exhibits
Portland State's commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while
many of the 120 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees incorporate
sustainability into the curriculum. PSU's motto, "Let Knowledge Serve the
City," inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose
work and students span the globe. For more information visit
http://www.pdx.edu.
About NIST Advanced Technology Program
The Advanced Technology Program bridges the gap between the research
lab and the market place, stimulating prosperity through innovation.
Through partnerships with the private sector, ATP's early stage investment
is accelerating the development of innovative technologies that promise
significant commercial payoffs and widespread benefits for the nation. As
part of the highly regarded National Institute of Standards and Technology,
the ATP is changing the way industry approaches R&D, providing a mechanism
for industry to extend its technological reach and push out the envelope of
what can be attempted. For additional information contact Michael Baum,
NIST Public and Business Affairs Division, (301) 975-2763,
michael.baum@nist.gov.

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