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DNA-Based Sensor Material Enables Detection of Volatile Chemicals

June 26, 2006

CogniScent's new, patented sensor provides odor detection for security, medical, and industrial applications.


NORTH GRAFTON, Mass. /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- CogniScent, a leading developer of high-performance systems to detect volatile chemical compounds, announced that it has received a U.S. patent for its proprietary DNA-based sensor material to be used with its innovative ScenTraK odor-detection technology.

CogniScent's newly patented DNA-based sensing material makes millions of potential sensor variants available and permits the high-throughput screening of individual sensors to find optimal sets for particular problems. It is then possible to produce large quantities of these sensors using current, straightforward, synthetic techniques.

"This breakthrough allows CogniScent access to a vast library of proprietary sensors that enable us to custom-develop sensors for any odor detection application," said CogniScent CEO Hugh Greville. "As a result, CogniScent is able to provide engineered odor detection solutions more quickly, at higher volume, and at greater sensitivity and lower cost than currently available technologies."

About ScenTraK
ScenTraK is a lightweight, handheld, highly sensitive, optoelectronic platform that models the way biological noses work to detect, identify, and discriminate many different airborne compounds in real time (approximately 2 s).

ScenTraK models olfactory sensing by using 23 biologically inspired attributes. The biological modeling approach was derived directly from neuroscience research conducted by Dr. John Kauer and Dr. Joel White of the Tufts University School of Medicine. The system uses an optoelectronic sensor array, and its output drives software algorithms trained to identify specific olfactory patterns. Unlike other odor-detection approaches, ScenTrak's patented use of an array of broadly responsive sensors enables identification of both specific compounds and odor signatures associated with a particular application without compromising sensitivity.

The unique adaptability of CogniScent's ScenTraK technology supports device makers who need customized detection solutions for a wide variety of applications in the security, medical, and industrial markets.

In conjunction with Hamilton Thorne Biosciences, CogniScent is in the final production phase of a program to develop an innovative series of tools to detect the presence of mold in residential and commercial buildings. The ScenTraK technology is also the core technology behind a product designed specifically for security applications and funded by the Department of Homeland Security. This is a handheld device that detects, identifies, and discriminates between toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents and is tailored for use by first responders during contamination incidents or acts of terror.

Key Attributes of ScenTraK

  • Easy to Use—Operation requires no sample preparation experience or technical training.
  • Lightweight—Units are easily portable, only 3 lbs in weight and 8" long.
  • Inexpensive— Units are readily affordable, with a market price of less than $5000.
  • Adaptable—Interchangeable sensor cartridges can be swapped in the field, accommodating a variety of odor scenarios.
  • Accurate—Disposable sensors ensure low maintenance and continued accuracy.
  • Rapid Response—Sensors identify environmental odors within seconds, providing real-time results.
  • Highly Sensitive—Sensors detect target odors to high sensitivities (ppb and high pptrillion levels) and identifies volatile compounds at a range of concentrations.
  • Discriminating—Devices can discriminate targets in the presence of background interferents.
  • Patented—CogniScent's ScenTraK technology has received two patents: Intelligent Electro-Optical Sensor Array and Method for Analyte Detection, and Intelligent Electro-optical Nucleic Acid-based Sensor Array and Method for Detecting.

About CogniScent, Inc.
CogniScent, Inc, develops high-performance detection systems using broadly responsive sensors to detect, identify, and discriminate airborne chemical compounds. CogniScent's ScenTraK technology can provide customized detection solutions in the security, medical, and industrial markets. Founded in 2002 and based on research undertaken at Tufts University Medical School, CogniScent is funded through Department of Homeland Security research contracts, joint ventures, and private investors. More information can be found at the company's Web site.


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