Athena set to develop lead poisoning test

Maryland Watch

July 17, 1998

Athena Environmental Sciences has landed a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a rapid, urine-based test for lead poisoning, the company said yesterday.

The $100,000 grant for the privately held company, which is based at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Technology Center, is earmarked for developing a prototype urine test and a small pilot clinical study.

Athena's chairman and chief executive officer, Sheldon Broedel, said the company plans to develop a test that can detect in urine samples a protein that is believed to be a marker for lead in the blood.

"Our goal is to develop a test that is accurate and easy to use," said Broedel. The company hopes to know by January if developing such a test is possible.

Currently, lead testing is done by taking a blood sample. Athena envisions that the test would cost about $10 and be marketed to physicians' offices and other medical groups. Target markets for the test, Broedel said, are children living in major cities on the East Coast where the incidence of lead poisoning is high and where many workers are at risk for lead poisoning.

Pub Date: 7/17/98


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