DHS selects Arizona company for developing food protection system

Published 17 February 2006

DHS has selected Phoenix, Arizona-based Ribomed Biotechnologies as a prime contractor for a device to keep food safe from bioterrorist attacks. The contract is part of $3.5 million in new federal grants being funneled into the Phoenix company from the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the DHS. The company has received nearly $9 million in federal funding so far to develop anti-bioterrorism technology. For this project, Ribomed is collaborating with several companies, including Lucent Technologies, Global FIA, Microchip Biotechnologies, Ionian Technologies, Keck Graduate Institute; and Northrop Grumman in Maryland. John Schmidt, director of the Chemical and Biological Defense Technology Center at Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems Sector, said these technologies are laying the groundwork for the next generation of biological detection systems. “This convenient, easy-to-use, handheld device will provide military personnel an extremely fast and lightweight sensor system that approaches the sensitivity and accuracy of lab measurements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company is also dabbling in the medical diagnostics arena, and president and CEO Michelle Hanna has attracted three startup biotech companies to her incubator space in downtown Phoenix. The companies — Solara Pharma, Cynexus, and Pharma Pacific — share expensive lab equipment.

-read more in this report; and see company Web site