You are here

Exhaled breath drug detection using differential mobility spectrometry

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R42DA049655-03
Agency Tracking Number: R42DA049655
Amount: $1,396,710.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIDA
Solicitation Number: PA18-576
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-06-30
Small Business Information
Newton, MA 02466-2006
United States
DUNS: 116996742
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (781) 301-3893
Business Contact
Phone: (781) 366-7079
Research Institution
BELMONT, MA 02478-1064
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Project Summary
This proposed Phase I/Phase II FastTrack STTR project is intended to lead to the demonstration of a
breathalyzer instrument capable of detecting and quantitatively measuring drugs (i.e. cannabinoids and opioids)
in exhaled breath (EB). Prior work on the detection of these drugs in EB by means of liquid chromatography and
mass spectrometry (LC/MS) demonstrated that these compounds can be quantitatively detected, but LC/MS is
slow, expensive and requires highly skilled personnel to implement. What is needed is a simple and inexpensive
method for rapidly measuring the amount of drugs in EB. If such a method becomes available it can be used by
law enforcement and in doctorsandapos; offices, hospital emergency rooms, ambulances and companies seeking to
screen employees for drug abuse.
N2 Biomedical proposes to develop a method for quantitatively detecting the presence of drugs in EB by means
of Differential Mobility Spectrometry (DMS) developed at Draper Laboratories. DMS is a robust, data-rich, ultra-
trace, chemical detection technology that has been proven for numerous applications including air quality cabin
monitoring on the International Space Station, chemical warfare agent detection, explosives detection, and
drinking water analysis. Recently Draper has applied this device to breath analysis for the detection of lung
diseases. A clinical study is currently underway and initial results are promising. This project involves transferring
technology developed by Draper for lung infection detection to the detection of psychoactive drugs in exhaled
Phase I of the proposed program will investigate the DMS signatures of cannabinoids in the laboratory and define
the DMS device’s limits of detection. A small pilot study will also be performed to demonstrate feasibility for using
breath analysis as a proxy for the concentration of cannabinoids in the blood. During Phase II DMS signatures
of the opioids morphine and fentanyl will be characterized and a 50 subject clinical trial will be performed to
obtain breath/blood concentration correlations for THC (cannabinoid), morphine and fentanyl and also to levels
of impairment. A plan for bringing this device to market will be implemented based on feedback obtained from
local law enforcement obtained throughout the course of the program and an FDA regulatory strategy will be
identified. Successful completion of this project will demonstrate that this DMS device can be used as a rapid,
non-invasive broad spectrum drug detection tool for law enforcement as well as emergency medical personnel.Project Narrative
Driving under the influence of psychoactive drugs is a major public safety concern justified by the increasing
number of states in the US legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana and the opioid crisis that
continues to devastate the nation. This Phase I/Phase II STTR proposal seeks to apply breath analysis
technology, proven to diagnose serious lung diseases, to the detection of psychoactive drugs: in particular
marijuana, morphine and fentanyl. Successful completion of this project will demonstrate a rapid, non-invasive
broad spectrum drug detection tool for law enforcement as well as emergency medical personnel.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government