A Lawrence technology company is using grants to help pay for continued studies of mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain.
A month ago, Pinnacle Technology Inc., 2721 Ore., received a $835,051 grant for the project from the National Institute of Health and Small Business Innovative Research.
On Thursday it received preliminary approval for an additional $375,000 grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority investment committee. Final approval must be given by the KBA board at a later meeting.
"This is a major step, getting the investment board's approval," said Donna Johnson, Pinnacle's founder and chief executive.
Pinnacle is an engineering consulting firm founded in 1995 to provide engineering and environmental services to private and government clients, according to its Web site, www.pinnaclet.com.
Pinnacle is developing an in-vivo wireless fast-scan cyclic voltammetry system. It will allow use of a wireless device on the head of a rat to measure dopamine, seratonin and other chemicals. Most drugs affect those chemicals because they are the key neurotransmitters in the brain.
"A lot of what we are doing is pre-clinical stuff to help people understand what happens in real time," Johnson said.
A prototype of the device has been built, but more testing is needed. Then it could be on the market in fewer than two years for purchase by drug companies, universities, government laboratories and research hospitals.
"We have a lot of research to do," Johnson said. "Once we finally get it down and we know we have a product that works and works consistently and measures what we want it to do, then we go out for beta (software) testing."