Project: Development of the First Fully Integrated On-site Airborne Pathogen Detector

PathoDetect aims at meeting a major market demand for rapid detection and identification of airborne organisms that are pathogenic or otherwise hazardous to human and animal health (“bio-threats”), which is of increasing importance to various commercial and strategic business sectors. These sectors include military and homeland defense, agricultural and veterinary surveillance/diagnostics, and clinical in vitro diagnostics. The commercial importance of these areas is evidenced by the large sums being spent within EU national economies on preparedness and response capabilities with respect to natural or intentional outbreaks of bio-threat agents. _x000D_Technology background - For all of these sectors there are several characteristics that critical for any system designed to alert the user to a specific instance of release or infection by these agents. The most important of these characteristics are accuracy (lack of false positives and negatives), sensitivity, and speed. Less critical, but still highly important, are price, ease of use and portability. Exhaustive surveys of existing and proposed systems for monitoring of these bio-threats has been published ( cf. Bravata et al. 2004 and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response - US-HHS Report 2006 update). Though many of these systems possess multiple features that are necessary to address the issues of monitoring for bio-threats, there are few, if any indications of existing solutions that incorporate all of the parameters mentioned above. There is therefore an unmet market demand for a simple, accurate and cost-effective system for monitoring for airborne bio-threat agents._x000D__x000D_Goal and potential - ilochip A/S has designed and developed a prototype MEMS biosensor (BWAC) for the detection of airborne organisms that is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of specific bio-threat organisms’ nucleic acids. The integrated device incorporates air sampling, sample preparation, PCR amplification and detection of the PCR product in single system and is composed of a reusable command and control module and a disposable integrated lab-on-a-chip (ILOC). The current system is a non-production prototype designed for use primarily in laboratory or controlled field environments by skilled personal. It already incorporates the critical parameters mentioned above of speed and sensitivity, and has been designed with miniaturization and portability, as well inexpensive production (and thus competitive pricing) in mind. Although accuracy is already excellent for model organisms that are similar to bio-threat agents, it will be necessary to further define and improve this parameter by extensively testing the system with the specific bio-threat organisms of interest. Documented evidence for system performance with organisms of interest to potential customers is crucial for commercialization in the before-mentioned sectors. _x000D_Therefore, the three major goals of the proposed project are to;_x000D__x000D_- research and develop SOA PCR assays for bio-threat agents of interest that are optimized for the ilochip BWAC system_x000D_- develop and modify the system to increase portability and ease-of-use,_x000D_- optimize the system for production and commercialization - including development of a new, production-adapted reagent delivery module for the system. _x000D__x000D_The proposed project, therefore, will be aimed at producing a reagent module that is capable of providing post-purchase long term storage of reagents and which is optimized for large scale production and filling. _x000D_ _x000D_The Consortium - The proposed consortium, consisting of ilochip A/S (Denmark, SME), ThinXXS Microtechnology AG (Germany, SME), and RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Holland, Public Sector), presents a unique collection of expertise extremely well suited to the proposed tasks._x000D__x000D_ilochip A/S has designed the prototype BWAC system and brings expertise in MEMS design and miniaturization to the consortium. ilochip A/S will lead and coordinate the project and be responsible for specific tasks within assay development, reagent formulation and system design and testing._x000D__x000D_ThinXXS Microtechnology AG is a leader in the design and production of molded, high-precision plastic parts. The company expertise in microfluidics, material science and production will be indispensable for the successful undertaking of the project. ThinXXS will develop the design and production of the new reagent cartridge and be involved in developing the design concept for the second generation BWAC._x000D__x000D_RIVM is a recognised leading centre of expertise in the fields of health, nutrition and environmental protection. RIVM’s research, monitoring, modelling and risk assessment are used to underpin policy on public health, food, safety and the environment. RIVM will perform tasks related to assay development for bio-threat agents of interest and provide the testing facilities necessary for evaluating the BWAC with the particular agents.

Acronym PathoDetect (Reference Number: 4327)
Duration 01/06/2008 - 01/06/2011
Project Topic The PathoDetect project objective is to develop the first fully integrated on-site airborne pathogen detector. By fulfilling this objective large unmet market demands for detectors that are at the same time accurate, sensible, fast, portable, inexpensive and user-friendly will be met.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 thinXXS Microtechnology AG Partner Germany
3 Ilochip A/S Coordinator Denmark
3 Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu Partner Netherlands