Fyodor Biotechnologies, a Baltimore-based diagnostic and biopharmaceutical company, announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded the company a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant. With the $150,000 funding, Fyodor plans to develop a novel recombinant antibody to be used in a urine-based test for the point-of-need detection of Leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a worldwide, potentially serious but treatable bacterial disease that occurs in humans and domestic animals, including pets. The causative bacteria are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water (including swimming pools) or soil, and can survive there for weeks to months. Clinical signs of leptospirosis are nonspecific, and current diagnostic tools rely on complicated testing methods that are unsuitable for use in many point- of-need settings. Therefore, a simple one-step test is urgently needed for rapid diagnosis.