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Belleair Beach, FL, United States

Grant
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 70.00K | Year: 2010

Smart Polymers Research Corporation proposes to create a fluorescence-based fully automated flow sensor for real-time environmental detection of biothreat pathogens in water or in the air. The sensor will be utilizing pathogen-specific aptamers chemically modified with highly fluorescent quantum dots. The detection will be performed in the flow mode and provide results in real time. Based on the fluorescence wavelength and intensity, the sensor will be able to identify and quantify multiple pathogens simultaneously. In Phase I, Smart Polymers will test and optimize the sensing approach and use the sensor prototype for detection of two simulants:  Bacillus thuringiensis spores and ricin toxin chain A in water. Multi-pathogen detection and detection of air contaminations will be performed in Phase II. The proposed sensor will have immediate applications for constant environmental water and air monitoring, providing automated real-time specific detection and identification of multiple pathogens; it also can be interfaced with the alarm system. The developed sensors can be used to rule out any disease outbreak due to bioterror attack or natural reasons. Such sensors will have a great potential for detection of minute amounts of a variety of pathogens/biowarfare agents immediately after their use in a possible attack on military targets or the general population. They have the potential to become, in fact, a part of creating an Urban Bioshield, maintaining the safety of large cities. Due to the universality of the sensing principle, the functionality of the sensor will be expanded toward other biological pathogens as new relevant aptamers are being selected. The sensing platform can be adapted to address numerous health care needs, from drinking water safety to food pathogen monitoring. The real-time detection and identification of pathogens, such as the one proposed by Smart Polymers, would be of enormous benefit from a public health perspective.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2008

In this Small Business Innovation Research project, Smart Polymers Research Corporation will focus on the creation and testing of a molecularly imprinted conductive polymer as an innovative potential electrochemical detector for ricin, a natural cytotoxin, which is the second highest toxic plant cytotoxin after abrin, and which can be a potent biological weapon. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are becoming an important analytical tool. Non-covalent imprinting, in particular, has a great range of applications because of the theoretical lack of restrictions on size, shape or chemical character of the imprinted molecule. The possibility of tailor-made, highly selective artificial receptors at low cost, with good mechanical, thermal and chemical properties makes MIP materials appear ideal for chemical- or bio-sensing applications. Despite the large amount of data available to date on formulae for MIPs, the main applications continue to be in the separation field, whereas the development of sensors and electrochemical sensors, in particular, is significantly slower. Electrochemical sensing could offer good limits of detection, at low cost, with the possibility of easy miniaturization and automation. Upon feasibility demonstration of our approach, a multispecific detector will be targeted to address the detection of several biowarfare agents of viral or bacterial nature. The potential for future miniaturization and possibility of field application of the proposed assay/sensor will be outlined. The proposed MIP-based sensor can have a wide range of commercial applications due to the versatility and adaptability of the underlying technology. The immediate applications can be broadly defined as targeted toward 1) the military; 2) first responders, and 3) the civilian sector. Based on mission requirements and the possibility of battlefield contamination, the military is expected to remain the largest consumer. Second are civil defense and law enforcement agencies, or first responders. These end-users are present at state and local levels and are tasked with protecting civilians in the event of a WMD attack. The third group of end-users is found in the civilian sector. These are primarily companies involved in chemical and biological demilitarization work and government agencies without first responder duties.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is dedicated to the development of rapid aptamer-based dipstick sensor. Based on a known DNA aptamer, we intend to develop a colorimetric test strip sensor for B. thuringiensis spores (anthrax simulant), to demonstrate its performance and to characterize its sensitivity, specificity, detection time and stability. Using the developed prototype, we will substitute the aptamer by the one specific to B. anthracis spores and demonstrate detection of anthrax spores in spiked water samples. If successful, we will expand the same approach in Phase II and include other known aptamers to Shiga toxin, cholera toxin, staphylococcal enterotoxin B, botulinum toxin A, ricin toxin and to tularemia bacteria to create test-strip sensors for these analytes and perform additional sensitivity and performance optimization and stability testing. Individual testing strips can be assembled on a single laminating support card to result in a multi-specific single-dip colorimetric sensing card, ready for field use. Since the innovative technology is universal, it will find use in a variety of applications. We have assembled a capable team of scientists and commercial partners for to ensure success of the program all the way through commercialization of the technology. The sensor will have immediate applications for environmental monitoring, providing rapid specific detection and identification of multiple biological agents without extensive sample preparation or expensive detection equipment. In addition to indoor/outdoor surfaces, the developed technology will address numerous healthcare needs, from drinking water safety to food pathogen monitoring. The rapid detection and identification of pathogens would be of enormous benefit from a public health perspective. The functionality of the sensor will be expanded towards other biowarfare agents as new relevant aptamers are being selected. Such sensors will have a great potential for detection of minute amounts of a variety of biowarfare agents immediately after their use in a possible attack on military targets or the general population. Once developed, these sensors can become useful not only for battlefield pathogen detection, but for constant environmental monitoring of air and water to rule out any disease outbreak due to bioterror attack or to natural reasons. They have the potential to become in fact a part of creating an Urban Bioshield, maintaining the safety of large cities. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop lightweight, low-cost biomaterials or biologically inspired infrared (IR) detection technology for space-based military and commercial applications. To meet IR detection requirements, we plan to develop and show with a materials perspective, how these materials can sense thermal/IR radiation to be used and produced in uncooled imaging systems. Smart Polymers Research Corporation proposes to investigate the usefulness of a biologically derived protein, which exists in nature, to use in uncooled IR detectors through their dehydration and rehydration processes. Thin films of the material will be fabricated using the low cost self-assembly technique. The biomaterial films will be fully characterized to demonstrate their effectiveness as IR sensing materials. Upon successful conclusion of the Phase I feasibility program, we plan to take this effort further in Phase II with incorporation of the material into IR microbolometers which will be developed in collaboration with several partners.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2007

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I research project aims to develop a sensitive detection system for botulinum toxin (BTX) detection in food and water. The assay will be based based on molecular wire fluorescent polymer signal amplification. Fast, sensitive and reliable detection of life threatening toxins such as BTX is of great interest to public health officials and the technology developed in this project may simplify the detection of BTX in food and water. If successful, the technique may be modified to detect other toxins as well.

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