The Brillance of Ingenuity

CFDRC Awarded Protein Purification Technology Development Contract by US Army

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – May 13, 2014 – CFD Research Corporation has been awarded a $1M follow-on contract from the US Army Research Office (ARO) to further develop a novel high-throughput technology for protein recovery and purification. Protein manufacturing is of paramount importance to chemical and biological defense applications. “Existing protein purification methods primarily rely on synthetic-resin based chromatography, which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, expensive, and consequently, ill-suited for developing rapid countermeasures to chemical and biological threats,” said Dr. Hongjun Song, CFDRC Principal Investigator, “In contrast to the existing technologies, our solution is based on multi-scale electrokinetics and enables order-of-magnitude improvement in capital and operating costs.”

In earlier work, CFDRC designed, fabricated, characterized, and demonstrated a pilot-scale prototype to establish proof-of-principle of the technology. The device designs were first evaluated using high-fidelity, multi-physics simulations, followed by prototype fabrication and engineering. The assembled prototypes were extensively tested and salient protein purification performance comparable to the traditional methods was demonstrated, but with the benefits of resin-free operation, reduced analysis time, ease of operation, and significantly lower cost. 

CFDRC’s Protein Purification Device Prototype

Key innovations of the project include using electrokinetic force to enable selective protein purification from contaminants (e.g., cell debris), and integration of multi-scale elements into a single platform for automated, resin-free protein purification. The figure shows the assembled protein purification device. 

During the new project, design optimization and protocol refinement will be carried out for enhanced performance, manufacturability, and cost effectiveness. The most promising purification mechanisms will be selected for device scale up and integration with COTS technologies and the integrated prototype will be demonstrated for purification of DoD-relevant proteins in real samples. The end-product will be a fully automated, high throughput and low cost system for rapid protein purification, which will be commercialized to meet the needs in both military and civilian markets.

CFD Research Corporation
Richard Thoms
Manager, Technology Partnerships
256.726.4810 //

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