Isonics to develop decontamination method for hospitals and bioterror attacks

Published 18 January 2006

Isonics, and energetic and innovative company, joins with others to develop a an effective decontamination solution for bioterror attacks; the good thing is that the solution will also help hospitals keep themselves free of infectious contamination, and give former Soviet weapon scientist a productive line of work

It is not enough to try and deter a bioterror attack and plan for the immediate rescue and treatment of those affected. There is still the problem of offering an effective and environmentally safe way to decontaminate the buildings and areas subject to the attack. Golden, Colorado-based Isonics Corporation (NASDAQ: ISON) is eager to offer such a solution. The company will participate in the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NSSA) Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) program. The company has entered into a two-year, $2 million Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Battelle Memorial Institute as operator of DoE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Isonics, Battelle, and the Russian State Scientific Center Research Institute of Highly Pure Biopreparations (IHPBP) will collaborate in developing and commercializing an environmentally safe system comprising a chemical agent and an aerosol-based delivery method which can decontaminate microbial and fungal cells, spores, and viruses. IHPBP has already successfully demonstrated the efficacy of the proposed system and technology.

James Alexander, Isonics’ chairman and CEO, correctly pointed out that “the healthcare industry and EPA do not have the ability to effectively respond to a biological catastrophe in this country. Most of the effort appears to be directed to the needs of deterrence, detection and response to an event. There has been little reference to the planning and technologies needed for recovery — specifically advancements in remediation methodologies.”

The decontamination technology to be developed holds significant promise as a long-term solution to a national problem. The key: To create an effective technology which will allow for rapid, inexpensive, and environmentally safe remediation of buildings which have been contaminated by a biological agent, allowing for a speedy return to a state of normalcy. Decontamination is relevant not only in the event of a bioterror attack. Hospitals engage in a daily struggle to control infectious diseases. Isonics intends to focus on this existing market need for decontamination of patient rooms, operating theaters, medical equipment, and furniture. The market is not small, consisting of more than 5,000 hospitals and nearly one million beds in the U.S. healthcare system. Isonics believes that the same technology which will prove efficacious in hospitals will then be available and ready to serve in what it calls “less routine” biological decontamination missions.

-read more in this news release