U.S. Genomics to continue pathogens sensor work for DHS

U.S. Genomics Inc. will continue its development, testing and optimization of a sophisticated biological sensor that detects airborne pathogens and improves national security under a $9.1 million contract from the Homeland Security Department.

The company is performing extensive operational testing of its prototype systems under the auspices of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detectors program.

The prototypes demonstrate the capabilities for rapidly and simultaneously detecting multiple bacterial pathogens, toxins and viruses, said John Canepa, chief executive officer of U.S. Genomics, which is based in Woburn, Mass.

"The resources provided under the contract will allow us to perform extensive operational testing and to advance the capabilities of our prototype systems," he said. "Additionally, the DNA mapping technology can be applied to multiple sample types for use in forensic, human diagnostic and military applications."

The technology also has the potential to identify genetically modified species, such as those that might have been deliberately engineered to elude traditional detection methods, company officials said.

The term of the new contract was not announced. DHS awarded U.S. Genomics a one-year, $8.6 million Phase III contract in May 2007 to complete prototype development of the biological sensor for biodefense applications.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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