Menssana Research Inc. is putting “the world’s most sensitive breathalyzer” to work helping physicians diagnose and treat TB and other devastating diseases faster and cheaper.
Menssana’s technology is “a billion times more sensitive than the breathalyzers used by the police to measure alcohol,” says Michael Phillips, CEO and president of Menssana Research, Inc. The device detects about 200 different volatile chemical compounds that contain markers of disease. This simple test could improve early detection – and treatment – of diseases such as lung cancer, breast cancer and heart transplant rejection.
To help Menssana advance its innovative technology, the Commission awarded a $50,000 SBIR Bridge Grant to the NJIT Incubator company. The grant provided needed revenue while Menssana pursued a second National Institutes of Health grant.
Today, Menssana Research is developing a miniaturized and rapid breath test suitable for screening in a doctor’s office. The company has won Food & Drug Administration approval for clinical use of the Heartsbreath test for heart transplant rejection – and the company is now seeking approval to market the breath test for lung cancer in Europe and the U.S.
“The SBIR Bridge Grant award did exactly what its title says - it was a bridge between two NIH awards, and it was very helpful and welcome,” Phillips says.
Envimetrics is using plasma technology to help keep our air clean and our soldiers safe. The Bedminster start-up uses patented plasma technology to monitor mercury emissions from incinerators and utility plants and to help the US Army detect chemical, biological, explosive and nuclear agents from a safe distance. Envimetrics also is applying its innovative technology to homeland security uses to detect explosive, chemical and biological agents.
A Bridge Grant from the Commission helped keep Envimetrics in business between federal grant awards, enabling the firm to complete development of its product early and to pursue new applications, says Philip Efthimion, director of research and development.
Envimetrics now is working on a portable device for use in the field, as well as non-military uses such as chemical analysis for the gem industry.
“Envimetrics is very appreciative to have received an SBIR Bridge Grant,” Efthimion says. “The Grant has allowed us to pursue non-military applications of the technology…Furthermore, the Grant has allowed us to provide briefings on our technology to other DOD agencies -- and it will probably result in additional funding and military applications.”