Livermore Lab develops new pathogen detection system; seeks partners to commercialize

Published 19 October 2006

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory develop an autonomous pathogen detection system which boasts many advantages over existing products; the lab is now seeking industrial partners to commercialize the invention

Now here is an idea whose time has come. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have invented a stand-alone system for rapid, continuous monitoring of multiple airborne biological threat agents in the environment. You may think of the system, the autonomous pathogen detection system (APDS), as a “biosmoke alarm.” It is targeted for domestic applications in which the public is at high risk to exposure to covert releases of bioagents, for example, mass transit, office complexes, and convention centers, and as part of a monitoring network for urban areas and major gatherings such as inaugurations, football games, or Grateful Dead reunions.

LLNL says that the APDS is completely automated, offering aerosol sampling, in-line sample preparation fluidics, multiplex flow cytometer detection and identification assays, and orthogonal, flow-through PCR (nucleic acid) amplification and detection. This system has several important advantages over competing technologies: The ability to measure up to 100 different agents and controls in a single sample; the ease with which new bead-based assays can be developed and integrated into the system; low false positive and false negative detection owing to the presence of two orthogonal detection methods; the ability to use the same basic system components for multiple deployment architectures; and the relatively low cost per assay and minimal consumables.

For interested investors and strategic partners: LLNL is in the process of patenting this invention. In the meantime, it is looking for industrial partners to commercialize the invention. LLNL is also looking for collaborative research and development to improve the invention and to explore other usages of the invention.

LLNL is operated by the University of California under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

-read more at LLNL Web site; and see Jeannette Mallozzi’s R&D Magazine report [