Ceres to develop new method for detecting the presence of Ebola virus in saliva

Ceres receives $430,000 in funding for Ebola test development program from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ceres Nanosciences Inc. (Ceres) today announced the commencement of a development program, funded by the Gates Foundation, to use Ceres' Nanotrap® particle technology to develop a new method of detecting the presence of the Ebola virus in saliva. During the four-month performance of this program, Ceres will work in close collaboration with George Mason University and the United States Army Medical Research Institutes of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) to assess the ability of the Nanotrap technology to develop a more sensitive and safer Ebola virus detection method that uses saliva instead of blood.

Ceres, a biotechnology company located in Northern Virginia, has developed and commercialized a novel nanoparticle technology, the Nanotrap®, which provides powerful biofluid sample processing capabilities for a wide array of diagnostic applications and sample handling needs.

The Nanotrap technology was invented at George Mason under funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for biomarker discovery applications and is being developed into commercial products by Ceres with continuing support from NIH, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The combined team of Ceres, Mason and USAMRIID will bring forward world-class research capabilities and resources to execute this project on a rapid schedule to address the dire need for better testing methods for Ebola.

"Detection and confirmation of the Ebola virus is limited by issues inherent in collecting blood samples for testing," says Ross Dunlap, CEO of Ceres. "These include exposure risk, lack of adequately trained personnel, sample storage requirements, and, in some cases, cultural objections toward blood collection. The potential increased sensitivity afforded by Nanotrap sample processing in saliva could enable safer, earlier and more accurate detection and response during an outbreak."

"The effective detection of Ebola, using a noninvasive sample collection method, such as saliva collection, coupled with a highly sensitive diagnostic test, all enabled by our Nanotrap particle technology, presents a very compelling solution for rapid identification of infected individuals at an earlier stage of infection," says Emanuel Petricoin, codirector of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at Mason and cofounder of Ceres.

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