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NETPark’s Kromek secures $6 million US Department of Defense contract

A County Durham technology firm has secured a $6 million contract to help US forces counter biological threats.

Kromek is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a detection system capable of sensing, analysing and identifying airborne pathogens.

The deal follows previous work that saw NETPark-based Kromek develop a vehicle-mounted biological-threat identifier and miniaturised mobile wide-area bio-surveillance system for DARPA, which is an agency of the US Department of Defense.

Bosses say the new agreement, which will be delivered over the next 28 months, takes the overall programme value awarded to the Sedgefield firm to around $13 million.

They add it will seek to provide a completely automated wide spectrum airborne pathogen detection system that is fully mobile and autonomous.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek, which is a Durham University spin-out, said: “In addition to the ever-present danger of bio-terrorism, the outbreak of the pandemic has exposed the world to the severity of biological threats and their potential impact on public health and the global economy, and has demonstrated the need to rapidly evolve bio-security systems and associated technologies.

“This contract will allow us to continue our work in developing a mobile wide-area bio-surveillance system capable of detecting airborne pathogens in real-time.

“We look forward to reporting on our progress as we deliver on our milestones.”

Earlier this year, Kromek revealed a nuclear sector contract worth at least £690,000 to supply its detection technology to an Asian-based customer.