CatAssays is a Rochester, NY start-up company formed by two former Kodak Research Laboratories scientists with extensive experience in materials science, catalysis and chemical amplification to develop its patented catalytic redox amplification technology for ultrasensitive chemical detection processes. Although applicable to a broad spectrum of materials assay platforms, initial focus for this technology is the detection of trace amounts of disease biomarkers in biological samples. CatAssays’ proprietary technology is being applied to modify the chemistry used in the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) format bioassay protocol, commonly used in medical test laboratories, without the need for any new equipment, capital expenditures or staff training. The two chemical modifications of the standard ELISA protocol include:
1. Use of a nano-palladium heterogeneous catalyst label in place of the enzyme catalyst used in conventional ELISA assays
2. A high gain palladium-catalyzed chemical redox amplification reaction based on the amine borane reduction of a tetrazolium salt to an optically readable water-soluble
formazan dye signal.
Its implementation, in combination with state-of-the-art highly specific biomarker detector molecules, offers the potential to provide significantly increased medical diagnostic test sensitivity resulting in earlier detection of a broad scope of diseases such as ovarian cancer. Initial evaluation of this technology using palladized t-PSA detection antibody (GEN-1) showed an 80X increase in sensitivity vs. the standard enzyme-based ELISA format assay. Current R&D work, supported by a National Cancer Institute – Phase 1 SBIR Grant, is focused on development of a GEN-2 technology which uses a universal labeling reagent comprising polymeric nanoparticles incorporating the palladium catalyst precursor (i.e., Pd2+) and surfaced-functionalized with Streptavidin for binding to any biotinylated detection antibody.