Cambridge companies to conduct experiments on Space Station Lab

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By Antonio Caban

BOSTON-Two Cambridge-based life sciences companies have won a contest that will help them send projects to U.S. National Lab on the International Space Station.

Gov. Charlie Baker and heads of The Center of the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center were on hand Tuesday afternoon to present a $500,000 “galactic grant” to Nanobiosym Inc. and Zaiput Flow Technologies at the annual ISS Research and Development Conference at the Marriott Copley Place.

With the grant and up to $7.4 million per project in backing by CASIS, Nanobiosym Inc. will seek to validate its custom Gene-RADAR applications “to detect the presence or absence of a target pathogen cultivated in zero gravity by analyzing a drop of blood, saliva or bodily fluid.” The experiment has implications for antibiotic drug development at a time when analysts are seeing alarming growth in infections resistant to antimicrobial medications, officials said.

Zaiput Flow Technologies plans to use the money to further test its liquid-liquid separation technology, which officials say will advance flow chemistry with potential environmental, drug development and manufacturing benefits.

In a statement ahead of the conference Baker congratulated the two winners and applauded the first-ever collaboration between CASIS and the life sciences center to compete for the funds. “I look forward to seeing the results of this important research,” Baker said.

NASA picked CASIS in July to maximize the use of the space station.

[Michael Norton contributed reporting]