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PharmaSeq gets Phase I SBIR Grant for Microtransponder Cell-based Assays

NEW YORK, July 5 (GenomeWeb News) - PharmaSeq has received a Phase I SBIR grant form the National Cancer Institute to develop a multiplex cell assay on its microtransponder technology, the company said late last week.


PharmaSeq, of Monmouth Junction, NJ, has developed these microtransponders, tiny silicon integrated circuits smaller than the head of a pin, initially for life sciences applications. Each microtransponder contains 50 bits of memory, and transmits radio signals through a wispy antenna when activated by light. The scientists at PharmaSeq have turned these microtransponders into DNA probes by covalently binding fluorescently tagged oligonucleotides to each one. (See BioArray News, 9-21-01 for an in-depth article on the company.)


The project will involve testing the feasibility of a drug screen assay in which cells are grown on the  microtransponders in the presence of a chemical compound, the company said. The cell's response to the compound will be measured by the fluorescence intensity on the microtransponder.


This is the fifth NIH grant received by the company since its inception, said Wlodeck Mandecki, president of PharmaSeq.  "This grant will enable us to make inroads into the competitive and rapidly growing area of cell assays, which is of particular significance as our technology can accelerate drug discovery programs in research and pharmaceutical industry laboratories and reduce costs," Mandecki said in a statement.

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