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Boonsboro tech firm gets grant to continue research into defeat IEDs

A Boonsboro business that specializes in finding ways to defeat improvised-explosive devices on the battlefield has been awarded a share of a $450,000 grant to continue its research, according to a state corporation.

The Boonsboro-based ES&T Inc., and five other Maryland companies were awarded about $75,000 each, the Maryland Technology Development Corp. said Monday in a news release.

The grants were funded by Congress, but awarded by the development corporation, an independent entity established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1998 to help create businesses and foster their growth in all regions of the state.

ES&T Inc., "has developed an early-stage technology, MEDUSA, to disable blasting caps by introducing electrical energy in a specific sequence of voltage, current and waveforms," the release said. "This technology has the promise to become an effective counter-improvised explosive device solution."

The other five businesses to receive grants included:

• TRX Systems Inc. of Greenbelt, Md., has developed the Sentrix system, which provides the capability to track personnel without GPS. The Sentrix system uses ranging data to provide corrections to the estimated position of the tracked individuals.

• Smart Imaging Systems Inc. of Beltsville, Md., is building the world’s smallest X-ray scanner mounted on a small robot for inspection of unidentified and suspicious objects. The system can be driven inside buildings and easily deployed by soldiers, customs and border patrol members, as well as first responders.

• GenArraytion Inc. of Rockville, Md., in conjunction with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, is conducting a "detailed molecular genotyping of clinical bacterial isolates to develop a multiplexed molecular polymerase chain reaction."

• QuickSilver Analytics Inc. of Abingdon, Md., is looking to commercialize a field-sampling kit developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense for collecting and processing human urine samples in the field. This new technology avoids shipping a biological liquid sample by utilizing a dry prepare/processed sample, instead of ice packs and refrigeration.

• BioFactura Inc. of Rockville is developing a therapeutic treatment for Ebola, a virus that is a high-priority biothreat. The effort will also serve to demonstrate the capability of BioFactura’s RHAGe system for biodefense-countermeasure development. A successful outcome could have broad commercial drug development applications, the release said.

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