NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 28.01-6941

PROJECT TITLE: New Analytical Technique for Astrobiology

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

BioTraces has developed a super-sensitive technique called Multi Photon Detection (MPD) which improves the sensitivity of biological assays. The development of MPD enabled methods for sequencing very low amounts of protein material will be the focus of the proposed effort. There is an increasing importance of analysis of rare polypeptides and proteins, say a few thousand copies per ml of fluid. Examples of biological applications include monitoring samples from meteorites and, for future extraplanetary missions, soil samples or wash from exposed equipment can be assessed posteriori for the presence, nature and danger of biological contamination. Alas, even if the detection of a single copy of DNA is already possible using PCR, the previous limit of quantitation of proteins are about a million molecules. Protein microsequencing by Edman degradation requires about 100 fmole of material. The proposed method will permit microsequencing at the 50 attomole level. During Phase I, we will: * develop a proprietary HPLC/MPD method for PTH-amino acid analysis; * develop radiolabeled derivatization reagents compatible with Edman degradation; * improve the sensitivity of the Edman degradation method for protein sequencing; * compare the sensitivity of the MPD enhanced method with classical methods, both Edman degradation and MALDI/TOF based.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

MPD enhanced microsequencing of polypeptides and proteins will have considerable importance in almost all biomedical sciences. A main goal of BioTraces is to develop techniques for differential display of proteins and techniques for microsequencing of very rare proteins. BioTraces proteomics effort will focus on four main activities: discovery of new proteins as therapeutics; discovery of new proteins as drug targets; validation of new protein markers for clinical diagnostics and preventive medicine; and development of protein databases complementary to genomics and functional genomics databases. We expect to gain a leading position in diverse markets, namely: proteomics; elucidation of new drug targets; discovery of novel markers for tumors and invasive disorders; implementation of new cytokines and chemokines for immunoregulation of immunological disorders, e.g. autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the discovery of especially promising drug targets or tumor markers may permit subsequent entry into therapeutics development activities, either independently or in strategic alliance(s) with large pharmaceutical drug companies. The potential value can be as high as $100 million over next few years.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Andrzej K. Drukier
BioTraces, Inc.
10517-A West Drive
Fairfax , VA 22030

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

BioTraces, Inc.
10517-A West Drive
Fairfax , VA 22030