The detection technology specialist said under the new deal it will be awarded up to US$5.2mln to further work on its mobile wide-area bio-surveillance system capable of detecting airborne pathogens.
The extension follows completion of the base period of the DARPA contract which was awarded in December 2018 to develop a vehicle-mounted biological threat identifier.
Kromek said the miniaturised system will be capable of detecting viruses and bacteria and is intended to be located on vehicles to detect the presence of a pathogenic threat. The small, unmanned system will run all day and be used in high footfall areas such as hospitals and airports.
The total contract period will run until June 2021, with the completed system aiming to expand the existing SIGMA network for biological threats as part of DARPA's SIGMA+ initiative.
"We are delighted to be awarded this extension by DARPA. The technology developed under this program is capable of sample collection to comprehensive analysis of threats present in air in an autonomous manner. By sequencing the genetic code, the device can not only identify threat pathogens, but also be used to identify the particular strain to aid triage and treatment selection, in addition to being able to track mutations of the pathogen”, Kromek chief executive Arnab Basu said in a statement.
"As the system can be vehicle-mounted or placed in high footfall areas such as hospitals and airports, the location where the sample is collected can be mapped to a GPS position. The transfer of data to a central server allows a picture of pathogen levels across a city to be built up enabling decision-makers to react rapidly to any evolving pathogenic threat", he added.
The shares jumped 9.9% to 22.2p in early deals on Wednesday.
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