20 Sep Platypus keeps gathering federal funding with $750,000 for defense research
Platypus Technologies has received a two-year Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant for $750,000, bringing its total 2004 SBIR funding to $3.29 million, the company announced Monday.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration gives SBIR funding to U.S. small businesses working on research and development. Platypus’ award is the typical maximum amount DARPA gives in a single grant.
Platypus will use the money to develop a prototype of a rapid viral diagnostic device, according to a company statement. The goal is to make a portable and inexpensive device that could be used to investigate outbreaks of disease and biological attacks.
To develop this prototype, Platypus CEO Barbara Israel said they intend to use liquid-crystal technology in order to obtain a rapid electrical readout of the system.
“There are increasing needs for methods to detect viruses rapidly and with minimum equipment,” Israel said. “This funding is essential to our continued development of liquid crystal-based applications for the detection of infectious agents and diagnosis of infectious diseases.”
In late August, the company announced having received $2.14 million in Phase II SBIR funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to develop a monitoring device for exposure to pesticides along with universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Also in August, Platypus received a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute for $400,000 to develop a way to measure the activity of enzymes relevant to cancer biology.
SBIR grants are typically reviewed confidentially by outside experts from non-profit agencies.
Platypus employs 20 people in University Research Park.