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Circulomics Granted SBIR Grant to Develop DNA/RNA Extraction Technology

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Circulomics today announced the National Institutes of Health has awarded it a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop its new Nanobind DNA/RNA extraction technology.

The six-month grant is for $175,000, the company's CEO Kelvin Liu told GenomeWeb Daily News.

Nanobind is a thermoplastic nanomaterial developed for "high integrity" DNA and RNA extraction and is capable of capturing large amounts of high molecular-weight DNA and RNA. According to Circulomics, a Baltimore-based spinout of the Johns Hopkins University, DNA binds and releases from the Nanobind surface without being fragmented, which can occur with gel membranes, silica columns, or beads.

According to the grant abstract contained in an NIH database, Circulomics will develop a "novel silica-coated nanomembrane that uses a hierarchical structure of microscale ridges covered by nanoscale chips to create a flat, non-porous substrate with high surface area." The company aims to fabricate a thermoplastic nanomembrane "with a high density of nanoscale surface topography to create an inexpensive silica substrate with a high surface area for DNA extraction."

Circulomics also will develop an optimized protocol and buffer set for DNA extraction from human cell lines and will perform DNA extractions "using the nanomembrane, commercial spin-columns, magnetic beads, and phenol/chloroform to benchmark the optimized nanomembrane against existing methods."

It said that the technology will complement the company's Ligo-miR multiplexed microRNA assay technology, expected to launch late this year, and PicoSep single-molecule DNA sizing instrument, also under development, "to create a vertically integrated workflow for microRNA analysis." Nanobind can be used also as a standalone method for generic DNA/RNA extraction applications and is PCR/qPCR-compatible.

DNA/RNA extraction kits from cultured cells, tissues, and body fluids are anticipated to be launched starting next year, Circulomics said.