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|Research grant could help fight terrorism|
Polymerase Technology seeks to ID harmful soil
- Rachel Melcer
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
- June 8, 2006
- Section: Business
- Edition: Third Edition
- Page B2
DNA Polymerase Technology Inc. said Wednesday that it
is receiving a two-year, $300,000 federal grant to develop a
means for detecting harmful biological agents in soil.
The company, based at the Inventery commercial lab building
on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis, said it will
collaborate with researcher Christopher Taylor of the Donald
Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur. DNA Polymerase
Technology also will hire an additional scientist, bringing
its staff to four people.
Led by Wayne Barnes, founder and president, the
company is developing polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests
for detecting DNA. Barnes is an associate professor of
biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Washington University
School of Medicine. He also owns the Inventery.
His company was awarded the federal Small Business
Innovation Research grant by the Department of Agriculture to
develop tests that can spot naturally occurring roundworm
pests, or potential bioterrorism agents such as anthrax, in
soil. Roundworms, also known as nematodes, account for about
$77 billion in annual crop losses.
DNA Polymerase Technology is working with an
anti-bioterrorism company as a potential commercial partner,
said business manager John Hartman, though he declined to name
This is the second Small Business Innovation Research
grant received recently by DNA Polymerase Technology. In
March, it received a two-year, $600,000 National Institutes of
Health award for developing medical diagnostics.
The company hopes to commercialize tests that can
detect diseases such as HIV or hepatitis in whole blood
samples, which would be more efficient and cheaper than
current methods, Hartman said.
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