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Notable Contracts: Gryphon, ChemImage Biothreat, TrueTech

The U.S. federal government has recently awarded several notable contracts related to the field of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) equipment or life science research of interest for potential applications in biodefense:

Gryphon Scientific: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, Threat Characterization and Attribution (TCA) Branch in conjunction with Office of Procurement Operations (OPO) Science and Technology (S&T) Acquisition Division propose to procure services to improve, optimize and enhance the Integrated Terrorism Risk Assessment (ITRA) Tool on a noncompetitive basis from the incumbent Contractor Gryphon Scientific LLC of Brookline, NH.

The action is a contract modification to procure services and increase the estimated cost of the contract of HSHQDC-12-C-000005, a cost plus fixed fee contract awarded off of Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA) 11-03. The increase is from $3,765,239 by $2,917,489 to $6,682,728.

The existing ITRA tool developed under HSHQDC-1 2-C-00005 will be optimized and enhanced so that it can take a what-if scenario and produce a permutation of ways to prevent, respond to, and recover from Chemical Biological Radiological nuclear (CBRN) incidents. The additional tasks will adjust the ITRA tool to better respond prevent and recover from CBRN incidents.

ChemImage Biothreat, LLC: The Department of the Army intends to award a sole-source contract to ChemImage Biothreat, LLC of Pittsburgh, PA. The action is for upgrade of the current 532 nm Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF) Falcon II Raman Chemical Imaging system to install a new 785 nm Fiber Assisted Spectral Translator (FAST) Raman imaging. ChemImage will install a FAST fiber Cable Assembly, new 785 nm 2 watt fiber coupled laser, new objectives (5x, 20x, 50x), a new 1024 deep depletion Excelon detector with QE at 785 mn at approximately 95%, new spectrometer gratings, new optical interface module, ChemXpert Software, and installation and assembly of completed upgraded system. Period of performance should be approximately 2 months from award of contract.

Truetech Inc.: U.S. Army Contracting Command – Warren (DTA) has awarded to Truetech, Inc. a Firm-Fixed Price Contract, with two 100% option periods for the M28 Detector, Simulator (Qty 207); and the M256A2 Sampler, Refill Kit (Qty 2,628). A First Article Test and First Article Test Report are required for both the M256A2 and the M28. Production Lot Testing is required for the M256A2 Sampler.

Chemical Agent Monitoring Supply Company: The U. S. Army Contracting Command, Tenant Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD intends to negotiate solely with Chemical Agent Monitoring Supply Company (CAMSCO), of Houston, TX for preconcentrator tubes (PCT’s) to detect chemical warfare agents by miniature continuous air monitoring systems. These items are patent protected and are not sold as a standalone product.

Illumina: USDA, ARS, Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, (BFGL), intends to solicit and on a sole-source basis with Illumina, Inc. for a NextSeq 500 Sequencing System to add next generation sequencing capacity to its current facility, which operates an Illumina HiSeq2000 at maximum capacity.

The NextSeq 500 instrument would provide this need for additional capacity along with shorter run time flexibility, while maintaining use of the same chemistry and post-sequence analysis processing systems. BFGL’s current sequencing systems and data analysis pipeline are based on this chemistry, and we have invested heavily in these reagents and infrastructure specific to this type of sequencing systems. The NextSeq complements our current HiSeq instrumentation, because it allows us to sequence whole mammalian genomes for time-critical projects that typically are delayed while the current ARS HiSeq is in use at Beltsville.

BioTek: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) intends to award a sole source firm fixed price purchase order to BioTek Instruments Inc. of Winooski, VT for purchasing of cell imaging system with multi-mode microplate reader for cellular assay development.

Beckman Coulter, Inc: The Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health has a sole source requirement and intends to negotiate for the sequencing of T and B cell receptors using Sanger technology for individual PCR reactions from Beckman Coulter, Inc. of Brea, Ca.

The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is developing vaccines for HIV, Ebola and potentially, other diseases. The human immunology section is involved in a number of projects that require the generation of genomic sequences to determine the antibodies elicited after vaccination and during infection. With this knowledge, they are better able to understand the immunologic response that must be generated during a vaccine regimen aiding in the protection of persons against known pathogens.

Colorado State University: The US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity proposes to award to Colorado State University of Fort Collins, CO, on a sole source basis, for limit pathogen detection and next generation sequencing in support of “Vector Biosensor and Xenosurveillance of Blood Fed Anthropods.”

BioAutomation Corporation: The Army Contracting Command Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG) intends to award a sole source contract to BioAutomation Corporation of Irving, Texas. The proposed contract will provide the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Biochemistry Branch with the capability to synthesize its own DNA and RNA fragments for use in polymerase chain reactions and bacterial cloning.

Only BioAutomation Corporation can successfully complete this work because they are the sole proprietor of the Murmade 192E synthesizer. The Murmade 192E synthesizer permits both 96-well plates to be started, stopped, and removed independently to provide workflow flexibility. Secondly, the Murmade 192E synthesizer is built as a user-serviceable instrument, meaning that it can be repaired by research staff, alleviating the costs associated with maintenance and repair.

BioMerieux: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) intends to negotiate solely with bioMerieux Industry, 100 Rodolphe Street, Durham, NC  27712, to obtain the following bioMerieux equipment:  TEMPO Filler Unit plus Trays. The equipment will be shipped to the following locations: Athens, GA; Alameda, CA, and St. Louis, MO.

Life Technologies: Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) intends to solicit a proposal and enter into a contract with Life Technologies, New York in support of “TAQ platinum as component of assay reagents being produced for biological defense applications.” The requirements are: Fast Plate 96-well 200 Bulk  (5 EA), Optical Caps (50 EA), Rox Reference Dye (1,200 EA), Taq Platinum (27 EA).

Beckman Coulter: The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) in support of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) intends to negotiate solely with Beckman Coulter of Brea, CA for the procurement of a Biomek FXP Liquid Handler Workstation.

The equipment is to support metabolism and metabolite identification studies as part of USAMRICD’s Absorption Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion (ADME) Center of Excellence (CoE). The ADME CoE at is currently utilizing a Beckman Coulter Biomek FX workstation purchased in September 2007.

The ADME CoE facility will support drug development efforts not only at USAMRICD but also across the Medical Chemical and Biologic Defense Program. The program is projected to grow as more customers request ADME screening of potential countermeasure compounds. The purchase of this instrument is critical for duplicating instrumentation used in high-throughput assay development and execution to increase the high throughput potential of the ADME CoE which will help to accommodate the increasing demand.

Chenda Polyclinic House: The US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity proposes to award to Chenda Polyclinic House of Phnom Penh on a sole source basis for a services contract to provide research support services to permit the conduct of clinical research for funded AFRIMS projects in Cambodia. Competing this requirement and awarding to any other contractor would result in substantial delays in on-going research.

Editor’s Note: While the periodic acquisition of laboratory or CBRN equipment and support services is commonplace, we selectively cover these activities for insight into the research, acquisition and mission priorities of organizations as well as the competitive landscape for suppliers.

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