Lab Canada

$750,000 funding to support development of phage-based microrobotic system

Montreal, QC – Biophage Pharma, which develops phage-based biosensors for live pathogen diagnostics, says it has received notification from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) of an award as part of a consortium of co-investigator headed by Ecole Polytechnique de Montral (Campus of the University of Montreal) with Dr Sylvain Martel acting as principal investigator. The total cost of the project is estimated at $748,500.

The object of this three-year R&D program is the development of novel phage-based microrobotic systems for the detection of live bacteria. In this multidisciplinary approach, detection speed and sensitivity will be enhanced through the use of magnetotactic bacteria being controlled by a miniature computer integrated onto the phage-based detection microsystem.

“At Biophage we are very proud to be associated with such a prestigious group of researchers from Polytechnique, the Max Planck Institute and the Iowa State University,” says Dr Mandeville, president and CEO of Biophage. “This innovative program complements our core competencies, our polyvalent technologies in the development of biosensors and our long-term business development plan. Integrating our phage-based platforms and patented innovations from the NanoRobotics laboratory at Polytechnique will allow the development of an ultra-rapid biosensor which bring within seconds the biosensor elements (specific phages) to the targeted bacteria using micro-automation, promising major improvement in detection time.”

The company says its biosensor can detect not only the presence, but also the viability of pathogens. It can detect 5-10 live bacteria in a 1 ml sample without any pre-enrichment and evaluate antibiotic sensitivity, and can screen up to 60 samples.