A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Antigen Discovery (ADI; Irvine, California) reported receipt of a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

The $3 million grant will fund efforts to further develop ADI's protein microarray based serodiagnostic platform for applications in biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. ADI will collaborate with investigators at the Proteomics Core facility of the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence located at the University of California Irvine (UCI).

"The major bottleneck that limits the translation of readily available genomic information into the development of next-generation diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics, is the continued lack of effective antigen and biomarker discovery tools," said Xiaowu Liang, CEO of ADI. "We are grateful that the SBIR program continues to fund ADI and our UCI collaborators in the further development of this exciting new technology platform that truly revolutionizes the screening and detection of disease markers."

"The focus of this grant is to commercialize some of the broad applications of the platform technology that were developed during previous funding phases. The establishment of a Good Manufacturing Practices facility and a clinical research lab will enable us to offer diagnostic products and services to physicians, point-of-care facilities, developers of novel vaccines, and pharmaceutical researchers," said Huw Davies, the principal investigator on the SBIR grant.

Davies added, "By using our novel protein array systems and statistical algorithms, we can rapidly discover antigen sets that will provide serological tests that discriminate between different infections, or even between different stages of the same infection."

In other grants/contracts news:

• Aetna (Atlanta) reported that it has awarded a $40,000 grant to the Ryan Cameron Foundation (Atlanta) to help fund a diabetes screening day, for which Aetna will be the title sponsor this fall.

Aetna representatives will share information about the risk factors connected with diabetes and what people can do to help manage the disease.

"A significant portion of Aetna's philanthropic donations has been used to target diabetes and childhood obesity, which present tremendous health challenges in the Atlanta area," said Cynthia Follmer, president of Aetna's Georgia market. "Working with organizations like the Ryan Cameron Foundation, we hope to raise awareness of this growing problem and help people in this community learn to live healthier, more productive lives."

Aetna provides health benefits to more than 500,000 people in Georgia.

The Ryan Cameron Foundation provides Atlanta's youth with tools of empowerment, preparing them for their future roles as leaders. Some of these tools include: mentoring, tutoring, volunteering, business etiquette, self-reflection, leadership instruction and life skills.

Since its inception, the foundation says it has awarded grants to over 40 non-profit organizations and scholarships to six students.

• CompuMed (Los Angeles) reported agreements to continue providing ECG remote interpretation systems and services for state correctional departments in Iowa and Wyoming.

Under the terms of the Iowa Department of Corrections agreement, CompuMed will provide remote cardiac screening on an as needed basis for more than 8,700 detainees at the department's nine main correctional facilities.

The contract extension with the Wyoming Department of Corrections is through Prison Health Services, for which CompuMed will continue to serve as a value-added partner providing remote cardiac screening for detainees at Wyoming correctional facilities.

• nSpire Health (Louisville, Colorado) said it signed a three-year contract with Premier Group Purchasing (San Diego). The dual-source agreement offers Premier hospitals and clinics access to nSpire Health's broad range of respiratory products and services, including the newly released HDpft pulmonary function testing systems and metabolic diagnostic instrumentation, through July 1, 2011.

With the added benefits of HDpft, Premier's customers will be able to take advantage of several new advancements in lung function diagnostics and cardiopulmonary exercise testing, including iFlow, nSpire Health's newest development in flow sensor technology.