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Ceres and Collaborators Awarded $4.25M From DoD for Infectious Disease Detection Platform

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Ceres Nanosciences said today that with Tasso, George Mason University, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, it has received $4.25 million from the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop a platform for surveillance of infectious disease outbreaks.

The award is part of a larger, multi-year $11.7 million program funded by the DTRA through which Ceres will work to integrate its Nanotrap enrichment technology with Tasso's HemoLink blood sampling device.

Ceres' Nanotrap technology uses hydrogel nanoparticles functionalized with internal affinity baits to enrich target analytes for downstream analysis. The system uses chemical dyes to bind analytes of interest, concentrating them inside the nanoparticles and protecting them from enzymatic degradation, thereby improving the sensitivity of the ultimate clinical detection method.

Tasso's HemoLink device is a wearable blood collection system that the company is developing to enable easier in-home patient sampling.

The two companies aim to combine their technologies in an infectious disease surveillance platform that can be used in the field and operated by untrained personnel.

"When a new outbreak occurs, public health officials quickly need as much information as possible about the pathogens causing the outbreak to determine how to control it," Louis Altamura, a principal investigator at USAMRIID, said in a statement. "Analyzing clinical samples from infected patients is one of the best ways to get that information, but existing blood sample collection and screening methods can expose healthcare workers and laboratory technicians to pathogens, presenting safety concerns for these workers and potentially contributing to the spread of the epidemic."