MONTGOMERY, ALA. – In 2018, GeneCapture, a diagnostics company based at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, was awarded a two-year, $1 million Small Business Technology Transfer Research contract from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to deliver, “a desktop prototype to rapidly identify critical pathogens considered threatening to warfighters. , and most recently, was given a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) award to deliver a military deployable, “field ready” Rapid Infection Detection system to the war fighter engaged on the ground. GeneCapture’s mission is to bring ‘infection detection’ to the Point of Care; whether that’s a hospital bed, an airport, a cruise ship, or a battlefield.
According to company representatives, both the commercial and field ready GeneCapture versions will allow medical professionals to diagnose pathogens 97% faster than current commercial equipment, along with costing 80% less to test then current standards. Ideally, the final product allows all users, by means of a small sample of the patient’s blood, saliva or urine, to test for more than 200 different pathogens in less than 20 minutes, all for about $20.00.
Taking part in the GeneCapture feasibility forum were medical professionals from the 22nd Training Support Squadron, the Alabama Air Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing, along with a combat medic from the Army Guard’s 20th Special Forces Group, 46th Civil Support Team (WMD) and senior leaders from the Army Guard’s J3. Participants were able to critique the GeneCapture product and offer suggestions on how to create a more robust version which could be deployable on aircraft and in a backpack for use in remote austere conditions where warriors are regularly sent.
The GeneCapture team were able to field questions, discuss innovative design changes, scope out delivery packaging strategies and finally, take back to the laboratory invaluable insights from the warrior end users that potentially would have taken weeks, months or even years to amass in typical clinical forums. Moreover, Air Force and Guard participants were enthusiastic about being asked to play a part in such groundbreaking medical breakthrough technologies that will likely change the face of infectious disease medicine around the world for years to come.