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Chemeleon Awarded SBIR Phase II Grant From the National Institutes of Health

New York City-based startup, Chemeleon Inc., has been awarded a prestigious Phase Two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The two-year, $1.68 million grant will be used to develop their platform technology to create the first-ever colorimetric biosensor that will enable medical professionals to rapidly diagnose cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks at the Point-of-Care (POC).

CSF leaks are a common occurrence during spinal and otolaryngological surgeries, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), lumbar punctures, and epidurals. Currently, distinguishing CSF leaks from other bodily fluids is a significant challenge for doctors and medical professionals. As a result, patient samples must be sent to expensive third-party laboratories for results, which can take up to seven days. This delay in diagnosis not only adds significant healthcare costs during hospitalization, but it can increase the risk of life-threatening infections, meningitis, and stroke.

In response to this pressing issue, Chemeleon has developed the first true POC CSF diagnostic. The novel, inexpensive biosensor requires no additional equipment or personnel training and can provide results in just minutes. The proprietary Binding-Induced Nanostructured Dynamic Surface (BINDS) Assay developed by Chemeleon is a platform technology that integrates smart-materials based microstructured transducers, nanophotonic reporter surfaces, and highly selective molecular receptors. The BINDS platform is capable of detecting CSF protein biomarkers (beta-2-transferrin proteins) in under 10 minutes.

Jacob Trevino, Chief Executive Officer at Chemeleon stated: “Chemeleon’s technology will provide significant advancements in decision-making for head trauma, spinal and otolaryngological surgical cases while presenting a modular platform for the development of additional healthcare diagnostics. And, because it is an instrument-free technology, even lesser-funded medical facilities may take advantage of rapid CSF leak detection. The NIH's Phase II SBIR grant will enable us to further advance this groundbreaking technology, with the aim of bringing our novel colorimetric biosensor to market.”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44NS130769. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About Chemeleon

Chemeleon is a Brooklyn, New York-based company developing disruptive sensing technology to make a safer and smarter world. Our colorimetric platform sensor technology provides an autonomous and inert means of rapidly and accurately detecting chemical compounds in the field, obviating the need for slow, complex, and expensive lab analysis for healthcare providers and laymen alike. Learn more at


Jacob Trevino

CEO, Chemeleon

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