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Point-of-care Testing for Illicit Drugs and Alcohol Intoxication in an Emergency

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Seacoast Science, Inc.
2151 Las Palmas Dr., Suite C Carlsbad, CA 92011-
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Point-of-care Testing for Illicit Drugs and Alcohol Intoxication in an Emergency
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43DA031530-01
Award Amount: $149,999.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I proposal focuses on the development of a high-speed chromatographic analysis system based on a chemical sensor array that is specialized for the detection of ethanol and narcotics. The core technology is a miniature gas chromatograph that will utilize a dual detector system based on a MEMS microcapacitor sensor array and an ethanol detector. The MEMS sensor array will be coated with several chemoselective polymers optimizedfor the detection of narcotics while the transdermal ethanol sensor will be based on a chemiresistor or an electrochemical cell. A novel thermal desorber will be built into the inlet of the Mini-GC that vaporizes traces of drugs off a sampling collectiondevice. The vaporized analytes are preconcentrated on a sorbent with increased relative adsorption strength for the analytes of interest prior to the chromatographic separation and subsequent detection with the dual sensor array. The analytical instrumentwill provide a low-cost, minimal invasive, point-of-care diagnostic platform for the detection of drug traces in near-real time. The proposed drug screening device will be an alternative to state of the art chromatographic desktop and immunoassay drug tests, with the sample preparation being based on trace detection rather than the analysis of a urine or blood sample. One of the intended applications of the diagnostic tool is for an emergency department where patients can be quickly screened for alcohol anddrugs, which will provide physicians with an initial assessment of patients to facilitate the treatment decision making. The idea of monitoring transdermal alcohol by means of an ankle bracelet for instance, and the trace detection of narcotics by ion mobility spectroscopy have both been applied separately for years; however, the two concepts have never before been combined in one instrument and made available at low cost. Seacoast's Mini-GC with the dual detector system will close this gap. PUBLICHEALTH RELEVANCE: Persons adversely affected by drugs of abuse comprise a substantial proportion of the patients that seek care in emergency departments. Seacoast Science proposes a fast, point-of-care drug screen test that will provide physicians with aninitial assessment of patients to facilitate the treatment decision making. The test can be applied to every patient seeking emergency care, since the test is minimal invasive by collecting traces of narcotics and transdermal alcohol from a patient's skin,rather than requiring a blood or urine sample.

Principal Investigator:

Marcel Benz

Business Contact:

Louis H. Haerle
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 175310391
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No