Banyan gets $13 million Defense Dept. grant

Founder and President Ron Hayes and Chief Executive Office Jackson Streeter of Banyan Biomarkers are shown in this Oct. 26, 2011, file photo.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.

Alachua-based Banyan Biomarkers received a $13 million Department of Defense contract to adapt its blood test that diagnoses traumatic brain injury to work with a lab test device made by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

OCD's' Vitros MicroWell device will be used to analyze clinical trial samples.

Banyan Biomarkers has so far enrolled 1,100 out of 2,000 patients for a clinical trial it is conducting at 25 medical centers through a $26.3 million defense contract, according to CEO Jackson Streeter.

The company expects to complete the trial next year before the final stage of commercialization.

“We need to work on instruments that are deployed in hospitals. It's getting near the final milestone here,” Streeter said.

Banyan has 42 employees -- 30 in Alachua and 12 in Carlsbad, Calif. Streeter said additional hiring will depend on pending grants from the National Institutes of Health that are being slowed by the federal shutdown.

Banyan Biomarkers was founded in 2002 by researchers at the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute who discovered proteins from the breakdown of dying brain cells in blood.

The company developed tests to diagnose the presence and severity of traumatic brain injury.

Most of Banyan's funding has come from the Department of Defense due to its use in diagnosing head trauma from explosions, along with funding from the NIH and private investors.

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