State of Illinois Awards $150,000 Grant to Help High-Tech Company Develop Homeland Security Product

  (3/16/06) Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced a $150,000 award through the new Homeland Security Market Development Innovative Product Grant (IPG) Program, the first-of-its kind program to help Illinois firms bring homeland security products to market as part of the State’s effort to grow and attract businesses to the $45 billion industry.    “It is vital for our state to be at the forefront of the homeland security industry and support innovative companies like Ohmx in developing technologies that contribute to improvements in national security,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “No other state in the country is better equipped than Illinois to be a leader in this industry. From manufacturing and biotechnology to aerospace and finance, we have an unmatched level of diversity in our state’s economy.”   Ohmx will receive a $150,000 IPG grant to develop a low-cost, reusable field deployable biosensor reader that will use a groundbreaking electrochemical protein detection method to rapidly screen for a variety of biological threats, including Anthrax, as well as refine current testing methods.   “Current biosensor technology relies on fragile optical testing equipment such as the electronic method. Our electrochemical protein method will improve standard devices by reducing false-positives and negatives and providing test results in minutes instead of hours or days,” said Ohmx founder Dr. Thomas Meade.  “We are excited to be the recipients of this investment from State of Illinois that will help us develop this new technology for homeland security and other commercial markets.”    “Homeland security is not a singular industry; it encompasses multiple industries merging their resources to find solutions to keep our nation safe,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “By funding Ohmx through the HSMD IPG program, we help create 9 new jobs in Illinois and make it possible for an Illinois company to market a potential solution to a critical national need.”   The IPG programis administered by the Homeland Security Market Development (HSMD) Bureau within DCEO to directly catalyze the commercialization, improvement and production of goods and services with an application in homeland security and a dual use in another sector.  IPG funds are intended to help generate employment growth and produce economic activity in Illinois by helping companies complete milestone projects that are either ready-for-market or in the later stages of development.   Ohmx is an Evanston based development firm with roots at Northwestern University (NU). Founder Meade is the Eileen M. Foell Professor in Cancer Research and professor of chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, neurobiology and physiology and radiology at NU. Meade developed the proprietary technology being used for this biosensor reader and has a proven track record of developing successful start-up companies around innovative, new biosensor technology. In partnership with Ohmx CEO Dr. Gary Blackburn, Meade previously founded and sold Clinical Micro Sensors.    For more information about HSMD and IPG, visit www.hsmd.illinois.gov.