BEDFORD and CAMBRIDGE, MA—Vox Biomedical, LLC, a developer of advanced medical diagnostic instruments, has licensed exclusively an analysis system from Draper to be used for detecting marijuana in breath.
Originally developed to analyze air quality aboard the International Space Station, where it monitors the cabin’s air to ensure the health and safety of the astronauts onboard, Draper’s microAnalyzer™ is a sensor system that incorporates differential mobility spectrometry technology and programmable compact gas chromatography, enabling the system to detect trace vapors in concentrations as low as a few parts per trillion—a sensitivity level critical for next generation drug breathalyzers.
The Draper microAnalyzer will be configured for use by law enforcement, workplace safety and in medical health care to detect THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), according to Arash Aslani, vice president and general manager at Vox Biomedical.
“Every time you breathe out, there are thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on your breath; some are telltale markers of drug use that our Venturi™ breath analyzer will be able to detect. Our vision is to change the way we currently monitor drug use. We aim to become a leader in the noninvasive early detection for illicit drug use,” Aslani said.
Various configurations will make the device useful by law enforcement, hospital emergency rooms, ambulances and companies seeking to screen employees for drug use like THC. The Venturi device can measure new chemical signatures and be programmed to select other biomarkers just by adding additional signature files.
Preclinical studies indicate a range of applications for the microAnalyzer. In 2017, Draper collaborated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to develop a breath-based test for invasive aspergillosis, a lung disease. In 2021, Vox partnered with McLean Hospital in Boston to explore the breath analyzer’s ability to detect and measure chemicals from marijuana and opioids in exhaled breath. The clinical studies at McLean Hospital are funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The agreement is a product of Draper’s technology transfer program and in support of its mission as a nonprofit chartered to serve the national interest, according to Tara Clark, vice president of Draper’s Commercial business. “Technology transfer ensures that innovations developed at Draper are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation. When technologies like microAnalyzer mature to the point where their continued development and sustainment can be funded commercially, Draper arranges licensing agreements to allow new industries to emerge.”
Vox Biomedical, LLC
Vox Biomedical, LLC is an early-stage company dedicated to using advanced technology for developing diagnostic instruments to detect VOCs of illicit drugs via breath analysis. Not only can Vox’s Venturi device be used for drug detection in breath but also has application to cancer and infectious disease detection as well. Vox personnel have been involved with a wide variety of R&D projects dealing with analytical technologies including photonic devices, gas chromatography and differential mobility spectrometry instrumentation. Vox Biomedical is based in Bedford, Massachusetts. https://voxbiomedical.com/