CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Draper, a leader in national security and biodefense solutions and technologies, has received an award valued at $26 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to support the development of tools and technologies to protect people against global infectious disease threats, including COVID-19, and accelerate responses to biothreats in the future.
Under the agreement, Draper will advance the development of its tissue chip platform—also known as a microphysiological system (MPS)—and related technologies and analytical and laboratory capabilities to advance the scientific understanding of illness and injury resulting from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and potentially other emerging infectious diseases, and to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents. The company will also evaluate medical countermeasures (MCMs) including potential therapies and vaccines using its MPS.
Commenting on this partnership, Roger Odegard, senior program manager, National Security/Biosecurity Programs at Draper, said, “Draper’s collaboration with BARDA marks an important milestone in the development of the company’s end-to-end MCM evaluation and screening platform.”
Draper’s MCM evaluation platform consists of the PREDICT96 system, which is a high-throughput, microfluidic three-dimensional tissue culture platform, supported by a suite of organ-on-chip tissue models, molecular assays, omics-based technologies, and advanced analytical methods for biomarker discovery and biomarker correlation with animal models.
“PREDICT96 will enable the evaluation and screening of potential MCMs—comprising biological products, such as vaccines and antibody-based treatments, and drugs—that target high-priority CBRN threats and emerging infectious diseases,” said Tim Petrie, head of Strategy and Business Development, Pharmaceutical R&D Technologies at Draper.
Draper previously participated in BARDA’s ImmuneChip+ program for the development of a lung-on-chip that successfully modeled healthy and diseased tissue, and measured immune system activity and response to drugs. Recently, Draper reported development of the first organ-on-chip model of the human lung capable of accurately assessing the efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics in a high-throughput system.
The MCM evaluation platform is part of an integrated portfolio of technologies and resources at Draper intended to help government, industry and academia make better use of biomedicine. This project has been supported in whole or in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under Other Transaction Agreement number 75A50123C00042. Funding for this award comes from BARDA’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Countermeasures and Project NextGen programs.