PositiveID Partners With NASA, UTC Aerospace, Leidos, and Boeing for Its Patented Bio-Weapon Threat Detectors
DELRAY BEACH, Fla., May 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The world remains a dangerous place. While a sense of complacency tends to permeate the discussion, there will always be bad folks and bad weapons that can do us harm. Analogous to treating deadly diseases, the key to homeland security is early and accurate detection.
According to Homeland Security Research Corp. (“HSRC”), the annual global bio-detection market is forecast to grow to $5.6 billion by 2016, a compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) of 12% from 2011. The U.S. market is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2016, doubling its market from 2010.
Investors should make no mistake; these are massive government and commercial markets that are actively seeking to acquire the latest, most robust, cost-effective solutions to the greatest global security and health threats.
That’s where PositiveID (PSID) comes in. The Company is entirely focused on homeland defense, with two exciting technologies and several high-profile government and commercial partners.
The Company is on a roll. In just the past six weeks, the biological detection and diagnostics company has announced contracts with NASA, Leidos/Department of Defense, and UTC Aerospace Systems. Investors may also recall that the Company has received $2.5 million from Boeing and $30 million in contract funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Based on Company’s ability to execute and the opportunities ahead, this may only be the beginning for PSID.
“In the near future, chemical weapon attacks, as we recently saw in Syria, could be detected early and mitigated, saving countless lives,” stated William J. Caragol, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PositiveID, in an exclusive interview with Financial Press. “As a leader in biological and diagnostic solutions, PositiveID’s M-BAND (Microfluidic Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detector), which was developed with $30 million of contract funding from DHS, and Firefly products are positioned to capitalize on the next generation of BioWatch; the U.S. government’s $3-$5 billion program to detect the release of pathogens into the air as part of a defense against potential terrorist attacks on major American cities.”
In a research report by Taglich Brothers, the firm rates PSID a Speculative Buy with a 12-month target of $0.16, roughly double the current share price. Analyst Howard Halpern refers to the U.S. government’s next generation of BioWatch, which represents a $3 billion opportunity. He further explains that as the subcontractor to its licensing partner Boeing, PSID is expected to supply proprietary assays and reagents for Boeing’s implementation of M-BAND automated pathogen detection units. He estimates at least 875 M-BAND units could be deployed by 2020, and cites the revenue potential for the Company as “substantial.”
Once successfully implemented, the next generation of BioWatch will detect airborne pathogens, warning government and public health authorities of a potential bio-terror threat such as anthrax, ricin, bacteria, etc.
Developed countries continue to advance their approach to the early detection of biological agents and prevention of outbreaks of disease. The key to the success of these programs lies in the proliferation of cost-effective, third generation bio-detection technologies—such as M-BAND— resulting in a significantly shortened response time to bioterror attacks.
For a small company, PSID is being supported and advanced on some very big shoulders. Boeing paid PositiveID $2.5 million for the right to become the exclusive distributor of M-BAND for BioWatch. On May 5, 2014, the Company announced an agreement with NASA to collaborate on testing the Company’s Firefly Dx detection system (“Firefly”) as a platform for biological research and commercial development for ground and space applications. The Company intends to partner with NASA to market the technology to Government agencies, with the validation by NASA through its own testing and direct access to potential government agencies being the salient selling points.
In less than 20 minutes, as opposed to hours, the self-sufficient handheld Firefly device — pretty much a portable version of M-BAND — will deliver rapid and accurate point-of-need diagnostics that will enable hospitals, first responders, and other providers to save lives. Much as the larger M-BAND unit, Firefly can quickly detect biological agents associated with weapons of mass destruction. As well, in the diagnostic realm, Firefly will be capable of processing a variety of sample types, including whole blood, buccal and nasopharyngeal swabs, urine, and environmental field samples. The incorporated, multiplex PCR assay will be able to analyze for multiple, user-defined targets from a single sample.
While the science is complex, the applications are not and should be extremely compelling to investors. M-BAND, basically a bio-aerosol monitor, works autonomously indoors or out for a 30-day period, constantly monitoring the air for bacteria, toxins and viruses. Within 40-120 minutes, depending on the bio-threat detected, the unit will report over a secure wireless network. The small footprint, cost-effective unit adds a much higher level of security in the detection of the very diseases deployed by natural occurrence, or more importantly, deadly diseases and substances unleashed by our enemies.
M-BAND currently performs high specificity detection for six biological organisms and four toxins on the Centers for Disease Control’s category A and B select agents list, and is configurable to detect up to 20 biological organisms.
The Company holds a portfolio of over 20 key patents/patents pending primarily for the automation of biological detection using real-time analysis for the rapid, reliable and specific identification of pathogens.
M-BAND is expected to rollout in 2015-2016. Firefly will get to prototype stage in 2015.
Caragol states: “In 2014, PSID has seen and followed up on five government applications for M-BAND and Firefly. Importantly three to five are in collaboration with four different and extremely large commercial/government customer. The Company made a recent announcement of an award of a five-year, potentially $4 billion by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for research into weapons of mass destruction detection to our teaming partner Leidos, a Fortune 500 constituent.”
PositiveID trades at $0.08 with a market cap of $5.63 million.
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