Quanterix gets grant from the NFL and GE to advance tests that detect concussions quickly

In this photo, Wes Welker  of the Denver Broncos is wearing a larger than usual helmet after suffering two concussions in December. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
In this photo, Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos is wearing a larger than usual helmet after suffering two concussions in December. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Quanterix Corp., a Lexington company specializing in medical diagnostics, said Thursday that it has been awarded a $300,000 grant from GE and the National Football League’s head health initiative to help advance tests that can quickly diagnose traumatic brain injuries.

The so-called Head Health Challenge is a joint effort by GE and the NFL to accelerate research on concussions and on their diagnosis and treatment. One goal is to improve the safety of athletes. Launched in March, the challenge is a four-year, $60 million collaboration between GE and the NFL.

The NFL is looking to take action on concussions that have taken their toll on so many current and former players. Earlier this month, a federal judge took steps to slow down the proposed $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, questioning if there’s enough money to cover 20,000 retired players.

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At Quanterix, meanwhile, the company has developed something it calls Simoa technology, which is designed to measure molecular signatures, or biomarkers, of brain injuries in blood.

In a statement, Quanterix chief executive Paul Chapman said: “We are extremely honored to be chosen as a grant recipient for the GE and NFL Head Health Challenge This is the first time biomarkers will be used as reliable predictors of neurological function and aligns perfectly with the overall goal of this challenge. One of the most promising applications for our Simoa platform is to provide a simple blood test that could speed the diagnosis of a concussion in a clinical setting and on the sidelines in a sports arena, therefore, improving overall treatment. This is another step in that direction.”

Quanterix isn’t working just on concussions; its technology is also designed for the early detection of diseases.

As of November 2012, Quanterix had raised $46.5 million. Investors include Bain Capital Ventures and Flagship Ventures.