Caltech and Integrated Diagnostics Researchers Receive Grand Challenges Point-of-Care Diagnostics Grant
16 December 2011
SEATTLE — Integrated Diagnostics announced today that researchers from the company and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) will receive a Point-of-Care Diagnostics grant through Grand Challenges in Global Health, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to engage creative minds across scientific disciplines — including those who have not traditionally taken part in health research — to work on solutions that could lead to breakthrough advances for those in the developing world. Jim Heath, Ph.D., co-founder and Board member, Integrated Diagnostics; Gilloon Professor, Caltech will pursue an innovative point-of-care diagnostics project, titled Protein Capture Agents with 40 oC shelf life for developing world point-of-care HIV-1 diagnostics.
The Grand Challenges Point-of-Care Diagnostics program provides funding to scientists and researchers worldwide to create technologies and components to assess conditions and pathogens at the point-of-care in the developing world. Dr. Heath’s project is one of 22 Grand Challenges Point-of-Care Diagnostics grants announced today.
“New and improved diagnostics to use at the point-of-care can help health workers around the world save countless lives,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Our hope is that these bold ideas lead to affordable, easy-to-use tools that can rapidly diagnose diseases and trigger timelier treatment in resource-poor communities.”
Projects that are receiving funding show promise in creating Point-of-Care Diagnostics that will be easy to use, low cost and otherwise appropriate so that they achieve significant impact and rapid uptake in resource-poor settings.
The goal of the project is to create diagnostic protein assays for applications in harsh settings by overcoming a key-limiting factor of current assays — the instability of antibodies, especially at high temperatures. The project is a partnership between the Caltech lab that invented the approach, and Integrated Diagnostics, an emerging leader in molecular diagnostics, which has licensed and is commercializing the technology. The researchers are developing protein-catalyzed capture agents (PCCs) with broad applications to disease diagnostics.
In addition to his roles at Caltech and Integrated Diagnostics, Dr. Heath is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His awards include Jules Springer Award in Applied Physics (2000); the Feynman Prize (2000); the Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences (2001), and the Spiers Medal from the Royal Society (2005). Dr. Heath directs the National Cancer Institute-funded NanoSystems Biology Cancer Center, and has been a founder of a number of startup companies, including MTI (acquired by Siemens in 2005), NanoSys, Inc., and Momentum Biosciences, which is a biotech incubator currently operating in Los Angeles.
About Grand Challenges in Global Health
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes that solving our greatest global health issues is a long-term effort. Through Grand Challenges in Global Health , the Foundation is committed to seeking out and rewarding not only established researchers in science and technology, but also young investigators, entrepreneurs and innovators to help expand the pipeline of ideas to fight diseases that claim millions of lives each year. We anticipate that additional grants will be awarded through the Grand Challenges program in the future.
About Integrated Diagnostics
Integrated Diagnostics is developing large-scale, blood-based molecular diagnostics that detect important diseases like lung cancer and Alzheimer’s at their earliest stages by simultaneously monitoring tens to hundreds of disease markers. The company, founded in October 2009 by systems biology pioneer Dr. Lee Hood, creating a new generation of personalized medical solutions using sophisticated informatics for biomarker selection and a novel class of synthetically created diagnostic and therapeutic agents with antibody-like properties: protein-catalyzed capture agents (PCCs). Integrated Diagnostics’ mission is to build a new generation of low-cost, large-scale diagnostic assays for early detection of serious diseases.
The company is conceptually based on a systems view of disease where pathophysiology arises from disease-perturbed networks of proteins, genes, and other molecules. Investors include InterWest Partners, The Wellcome Trust, and BioTechCube Luxembourg. Foundational intellectual property is exclusively licensed from the Institute of Systems Biology and Caltech. Learn more at www.integrated-diagnostics.com