Kromek awarded new DARPA bio-threat contract

Nuclear Energy

Kromek plc (LON:KMK), a worldwide supplier of detection technology focusing on the medical, security screening and nuclear markets, has announced that it has been awarded a new c. $6m contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency of the US Department of Defense, for Phase II of its development of a biological threat detection system that senses, analyses and identifies airborne pathogens. Kromek will deliver the contract over the next 28-month period, commencing immediately.

Phases I and II are an extension of the existing SIGMA network for biological threats as part of DARPA’s SIGMA+ initiative. Phase II follows the successful completion of Phase I where key milestones achieved over the past two years included the development of a vehicle-mounted biological-threat identifier as well as a miniaturised mobile wide-area bio-surveillance system. This new contract takes the overall programme value awarded to Kromek to c. $13m.

Phase II will seek to deliver a completely automated wide spectrum airborne pathogen detection system that is fully mobile and runs autonomously. Also, systems will be designed to be networked where data is stored, shared and further analysed and provide real-time information to decision makers. Key milestones under Phase II include the creation of beta units as well as final design and build of systems for extended field trials. In addition to the design process, the bioinformatics methodologies will be refined as data is collected for both enhanced performance and increased speed.

Dr Arnab Basu, CEO of Kromek, said: “In addition to the ever-present danger of bio-terrorism, the outbreak of the pandemic has exposed the world to the severity of biological threats and their potential impact on public health and the global economy, and has demonstrated the need to rapidly evolve bio-security systems and associated technologies. This contract will allow us to continue our work in developing a mobile wide-area bio-surveillance system capable of detecting airborne pathogens in real-time. We look forward to reporting on our progress as we deliver on our milestones.”

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