Owlstone Medical (“Owlstone”) announced that it had won an award from the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), for ‘Exhaled Breath Diagnostics’. The ‘EXHALE’ project, focused on the early detection of human infection using volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on breath, will develop a handheld device capable of non-invasive detection of pre-symptomatic respiratory infectious disease.
The portable device by Owlstone will be adapted to work off battery power and detect VOCs present in exhaled breath, filling a gap in infectious disease detection. By aiming for the earliest possible identification of asymptomatic infected individuals in the field, the device would reduce the risk of disease transmission wherever deployed, providing a strategic advantage to the force.
Based on the Company’s proprietary FAIMS technology, the device will be developed over a two-year period, supported by clinical studies to be performed at Duke University. Initial work will focus on identifying and validating breath biomarkers for viral and bacterial pathogens and defining performance requirements for the device.
If successful, there is potential for a second phase to the project for further development of the device to the point of being ready for high-volume manufacturing by Owlstone, and global deployment in the field.