Company to Utilize Kofinas's, Janiak's TechnologyLink Plus Corporation, a biotechnology company located in Columbia, Md., has announced that it has formed a subsidiary called Link Plus BioTech, Inc. to focus on public health related applications of molecularly imprinted polymers for the specific detection, binding, and separation of viruses using technology created by Fischell Department of Bioengineering Professor Peter Kofinas and materials science and engineering graduate student Daniel Janiak (who is advised by Kofinas) at the Clark School's Functional Macromolecular Laboratory. The creation of Link Plus BioTech results from an exclusive license agreement with the University of Maryland. Kofinas will serve as the subsidiary's Chief Technology Officer.
Janiak and Kofinas's technology takes the form of a highly absorbent, water-insoluble polymer hydrogel that resembles firm gelatin. The gel is imprinted with a specific virus' shape. When molecules of that target virus are filtered though the gel, they—and only they—fit snugly into the imprint cavities and are trapped.
Kofinas is widely regarded as the leading research scientist in the field of applying molecularly imprinted polymer technology to biological threats. He and his team have successfully detected viruses using the technology and commercially available sensor systems. Future research by Link Plus BioTech will expand on the breadth of viruses which can be detected and extend the technology to a myriad of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.
Robert L. Jones, Jr., CEO of Link Plus Biotech explained in a recent press release that devices could be developed consisting of custom synthesized molecularly imprinted polymers that are compatible with dialysis, hemodialysis, or blood analysis systems already available in hospitals and clinics, easily and cost-effectively converting them into virus systems capable of the direct removal of viruses from the bloodstream in patients with HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or other infections. While not a cure, it should reduce the viral load (concentration of a virus) in the patients' bodies and aid in the treatment of these diseases.
Molecularly imprinted polymers could also lower the cost of vaccine production by quickly and inexpensively filtering the inactive virus particles needed to create a vaccine from the biomasses in which they reside.
This story has been adapted from the Link Plus press release.
To Learn More:
Clark School "Virus Sponge" Could Improve Flu Treatments, Diabetes Care, Vaccine Development »
Clark School press release.
Molecularly Imprinted Polymers for Viral Diagnostics »
Profile of Daniel Janiak and his work.
Published January 28, 2008