Circle Group Holdings announced that it has entered into an agreement with Gassman Engineers Inc. and Meridian Mechanical Corp. to develop a commercial version of its Lidar™ and ThraxVac™ technologies. According to Circle Group, when the final phase of development is completed, the system will have the potential to provide for the detection and destruction of biohazard, chemical, and other hazardous materials. It will be integrated with a building's HVAC system to provide a defense against chemical and biological attacks or accidents involving hazardous materials.

Gassman Engineers, a Chicago engineering firm, will complete the design phase of the project, and then Meridian Mechanical, an Elk Grove Village, IL firm, will complete the fabrication phase. The phase one design is expected to be completed within 30 days. "Ultimately, it will be possible to treat any type of hazardous situation with this apparatus," said Ken Gassman, president of Gassman Engineers.

"In response to recent accelerated concerns about terrorist activities, and greatly expanded federal budgets for homeland security, we have improved the timetable to commercialize our defense technologies," said Greg Halpern, Circle Group Holdings CEO. "This comes on the heels of heightened interest in our unique ThraxVac and Lidar technologies."

ThraxVac is an anthrax/bacterial spore collection and elimination device technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Brookhaven National Laboratory. Circle Group acquired the worldwide rights to the patent-pending ThraxVac technology. In operation, the device's second stage "tricks" captured spores into germinating, thus rendering them vulnerable. In the third stage, the stream of newly activated spores is exposed to alpha particle bombardment via a small, safe, self-contained, low-level polonium source that damages the spores' DNA containing protoplast, effectively killing the spore and making it incapable of germinating or producing infection, says the company.

Circle Group also acquired the worldwide rights to the Mini-Raman Lidar system, a patented short-range tool to screen unknown substances in the field, which was developed by Brookhaven National Laboratory. With this system, chemicals are identified through analysis of the Raman scattering generated by laser illumination of the target area.