Pressure Biosciences Buoyed by New Grants
October 14, 2011
William Brah, Executive Director
Pressure BioSciences Inc. (PBI) (Nasdaq: PBIO) of South Easton was awarded a $649,498 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The company has its product development lab at the UMass Boston Venture Development Center.
The grant is a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) II grant that will help fund the development of an automated, high-throughput, high-pressure system, including instruments and consumables, for safe and accurate processing of pathogenic organisms such as viruses and bacteria. The system will be based on the company’s pressure cycling technology, which uses rapid cycles of hydrostatic pressure between ambient and ultra high levels to control bimolecular interactions. The company said it can be used in broad applications, including genomics, proteomics, drug discovery and development, process purification, pathogen inactivation, immunodiagnostics, and DNA sequencing.
Richard T. Schumacher, president and CEO, said: “Inclusive of our previously announced NIH SBIR I award, this brings the total of funding awarded PBI over the past two months to $809,000.”
Schumacher said the award covers a substantial portion of the remaining development costs of a new system aimed at the sample preparation market. He estimated the size of that market at $6 billion, including approximately 80,000 laboratories and 500,000 researchers worldwide.
Edmund Ting, senior vice president of engineering at PBI, said detecting dangerous pathogens in the field is essential to protect soldiers, emergency responders, and others against possible exposure to biological threat agents. “Such detection requires the safe and rapid inactivation of infectious samples and the simultaneous extraction of biomolecules like DNA, RNA, and proteins from the pathogen, including highly dangerous bacteria such as anthrax,” he added.
The company plans to adapt the new system for both research and clinical diagnostics laboratory use. The consumable sample containers for the system will be based on the standard 96-well plate format.