BioForce Nanosciences, a nanotech company based in Ames, IA, has received the second half of a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The funding will be used to develop and test BioForce’s Chip-on-a-Tip technology, a nanobiosensor capable of detecting protein biomarkers from just a few cells. It’s designed to provide fast analysis of minute protein samples, such as those studied in forensics or biopsy microsamples. The longterm, healthcare goal is to use Chip-on-a-Tip for early detection of cancer and other diseases, with a significant reduction in patient discomfort.
“This concept creates a test so small that it can be brought directly to the sample origin, for example a cell, eliminating the difficulties associated with transporting extremely small quantities of sample extracts to a remote test site,” said BioForce CEO Eric Henderson, in a press release. “The technology has the capacity to allow individuals to carry out personalized medicine at home.”
The NIH grant comes one week after BioForce launched a new Emerging Technologies division, dedicated to commercializing in-house R&D efforts and enabling collaborations with external partners. The new division is being led by Saju Nettikadan, who previously served as project director on the development of Chip-on-a-Tip.
Research of Chip-on-a-Tip is made possible by BioForce’s Nano eNabler, a benchtop molecular printer that is capable of “printing” the extremely small tests on the nanobiosensor.
In a press release announcing the company’s new Emerging Technologies division, president Kerry Frey credited the Nano eNabler. “It’s very exciting to be at a point in BioForce’s progression to be seeing results with the Nano eNabler system sales and anticipating increased results from our heightened focus on Emerging Technologies,” said Frey.
BioForce’s grant was awarded through NIH’s Small Business Innovation Research office. Earlier this month, that office joined forces with NIH’s Small Business Technology Transfer office to launch an initiative to help emerging companies shop their technologies to potential partners and investors.