NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Microscopy image analysis firm DRVision announced today that it has received an NIH grant for up to $3.4 million to develop advanced kinetic image pattern recognition, or KIPR, tools.
The SBIR grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will be used to develop DRVision's KIPR tools to predict the differentiation outcomes of induced pluripotent stem cell colonies for "significantly improved yield and robustness of differentiation protocols for patients," the Bellevue, Wash.-based firm said.
According to DRVision, iPSC technology is progressing at a "remarkable pace and is poised to revolutionize biotechnology, medicine, and healthcare." Several obstacles remain, however, including low yields and questionable reliability of existing technologies, as well as high costs.
DRVision's grant will be used for developing tools for colony differentiation outcome prediction by machine learning; improving colony harvest time determination by continuous and quantitative monitoring; selecting colonies based on their predicted differentiation outcome; and quality control by continuous monitoring during differentiation.
Ultimately, DRVision hopes to develop and validate an image-guided, patient specific cell generation platform by integrating its SVCell software with live cell imaging incubators "to synthesize state-of-the-art cell fate control protocols against iPSCs," it said.
Collaborators on the development project include Lee Rubin, director of translational medicine at Harvard; Kelvin Lam, director of high-throughput screening at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute; Chad Cowan, director of the iPS cell core facility at Harvard's department of stem cell and regenerative biology and Harvard Stem Cell Institute; and Nikon.
"This project will also strengthen our existing consortium for the development of world-leading, next-generation live cell assay technology," James Lee, president and CEO of DRVision, said in a statement.
The consortium, funded by a $1.4 million NIH SBIR grant, includes Nikon imaging centers at Harvard and Hokkaido universities.
"In addition, this project extends our synergistic business collaboration with Nikon, who acts as a commercial partner," Lee added.